Prevention & Recovery

Doctor's advice: What motivates teens to smoke

Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

Doctor's advice: What motivates teens to smoke

This story was originally titled "Your Kids: 12-16 Years" in the October 2009 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

The situation: My 14-year-old daughter is hanging out with a new group of friends, some of whom smoke. I don't want to tell her who she can be friends with, but how can I make sure she doesn't pick up any bad habits?

The solution
: Your daughter has surely heard of the dangers of smoking (which you can also remind her of), so she can only have two possible reasons to consider smoking. Either she thinks it will make her feel good or look good. Anyone taking their first puff will tell you it felt awful – so that leaves the "look" it gives them as the motivation.

Ask her what "look" smokers might be trying to convey. She'll probably use words like "rebellious," "cool" or "grown-up." Then ask why she thinks her friends need cigarettes to show people what they are like, instead of just being that way. Hopefully she will realize it's actually uncool, insecure or immature individuals who need to hide behind the mask cigarettes offer. Your genuinely cool daughter will soon see she doesn't need such a mask.

Ron Clavier is an author and psychologist with a background in neuroscience.

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Prevention & Recovery

Doctor's advice: What motivates teens to smoke

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