The Smoking Talk: How to Help Kids Dodge Cigarette, Vaping, & Pot Marketing
December 12, 2016
Whether or not you smoke cigarettes or support legalizing marijuana, you probably don't want your kids lighting up. But the rise of e-cigs, vapes, and decriminalized pot may make your standard anti-smoking arguments--"it causes cancer," "it's illegal"--feel a little shaky. Add in celebrities posting pictures of themselves smoking various substances, and you might wonder: It is possible to raise drug-free, smoke-free kids in an era of Smoking 2.0? Yes, but it helps to have a little ammunition.
If you're outspent, out-messaged, and out-cooled, take heart. There are plenty of way to fight back. Here's how to help your kids resist the marketing of traditional cigarettes, vaporizers, e-cigs, and pot.
Explain how bad smoking is for you. Kids think they're immune and immortal. The death statistics could be eye-opening, even for the "it won't happen to me" age group.
Help them resist gimmicks. Traditional cigarettes are trying to capture smoking interest by using kid-friendly tricks--for example, the Camel Crush cigarettes with a menthol ball inside. But the cigarettes still are really bad for you.
Impart your values. Teens are still listening to their parents, despite much evidence to the contrary. Discuss what's important to you: good character, solid judgment, and belief in a bright future -- all of which are compromised by smoking pot.
Encourage waiting. For some kids, forbidding might backfire, so focus on preventing them from starting to smoke in the first place, delaying it as long as possible.
Look for warning signs. Be on the lookout for things that might be affecting your kid in other areas of his or her life -- for example, social exclusion, school problems, and emotional instability.
Pull back the curtain on pot marketing. Kids and teens don't like to be tricked, and advertising is full of sneaky ways to get people to buy a product, including branding pot products with names such as Bob Marley and Willie Nelson. Instead of lecturing, help your kids break down the ads to see how they try to influence emotions, choices, and behavior.