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Most people who use tobacco begin before the age of 19; the average age to start is 12. If your child has made the choice to use tobacco, here are a few strategies that may help:

• Remember the importance of providing your child with a home environment that is a safe haven where they feel accepted rather than criticized. Nagging and putting down your teen may only push him or her to use tobacco even more. Focus on the positive things you see. Know it is possible for your teen to quit using tobacco, and to do so he or she will need positive encouragement from you.

• Encourage your child to have friends over to hang out, but make a “no smoking/no tobacco” policy. Offer to drive your teen to public hang-out places that do not allow tobacco use.

• Talk to your teen’s health care provider if he or she wants to use medication or nicotine replacement therapy to help quit. Find a teen quitting program through your local health department, American Cancer Society, or school counselor, or call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1-888-567-8788.

• Provide incentives to your teen when he or she goes a week, a month, or more without using tobacco. Take your teen out for a nice dinner, a movie, or buy him or her a new clothing item. Incentives encourage teens to continue trying.

• Realize your teen is becoming more independent. Let him or her make some grown-up decisions. To be successful, your teen must decide to quit on his or her own. Be there to support your teen when he or she arrives at that decision.

• Allow your teen to be grouchy or have a bad attitude at the beginning of his or her quit attempt. Nicotine addiction is very real and withdrawal causes several physical and emotional effects. With patience, you can help your teen get through the difficult times.

Teens who feel accepted and supported will be more empowered to quit using tobacco.

How to Help Someone You Love Stop Using Tobacco


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