Kids and smoking: don’t mix! This advice seems to be common sense for most adults but unfortunately, it is just not so for young people. Young children are highly influenced by the images they see around them, the television for example and this means they are likely to pick up the image of cigarettes and smoking. It is very likely that young children who smoke are influenced by the images they see around them and the more they see and imagine themselves as a smoker, the more they are going to want to smoke.
One of the common effects of smoking is that there is an increased risk of oral cancer in later life. Many kids chew tobacco use their cheekbones on a regular basis and this is one of the risk factors for this type of cancer. The evidence is clear and many kids need to wake up to the danger of tobacco use and the damage that tobacco use can do to their long-term health.
We already know that kids who smoke have smaller lung volumes and they are more likely to suffer from asthma and bronchitis. This is because there is a reduced airflow through their trachea and bronchioles. They also have a higher risk of developing mouth cancers. Young children are particularly at higher risk of developing mouth cancer than older kids because they are more likely to be playing with or biting their fingers. It seems obvious that any association between kids smoking and oral cancer is going to be very significant.
Young kids will also tend to think that using e-cigarettes is much safer than smoking a cigarette. It is estimated that over a third of all teens believe that they are less risky than smoking a cigarette and over a quarter believe that e-cigarette use is less dangerous than cigarette smoking. It would seem logical that the younger people start the habit of using electronic cigarettes the more likely it is that they will end up being lifelong smokers. The findings are quite alarming.
What’s more is that kids who use tobacco at an early age are more likely to develop psychological problems including weight gain, gum disease, and tooth decay. Tobacco use can also result in lower sperm count and increased risk of contracting cancer in their teens and twenties. Not only do these kids tend to be unhealthy, but their families are also unhealthy as well. A recent study estimates that up to 25% of middle-aged men who started smoking in their teens are still smoking in their thirties.
There are many health benefits to letting your kids enjoy the benefits of using electronic cigarettes. Although smoking among kids has not yet reached the level of the higher levels seen in adults, the potential for serious health risks continues to rise. For example, a recent study estimates that young smokers are four times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smoking children. What does this mean to you as a parent? Smokers have twice the chance of getting gum disease as non-smokers.
So the bottom line is, letting your kids smoke is a bad idea. It’s better for your kids and for the environment. But if you absolutely must let them smoke then make sure you monitor the amount they smoke. Monitor what they eat and make sure they take all the recommended precautions to avoid the risks associated with smoking.
You can find many kids smoking-free gifts online that can help you communicate with your kids about the dangers of tobacco. Just because your kids think they’re cool, doesn’t mean that they are. Tobacco use has been proven to be physically, mentally, and emotionally dangerous. Make sure your kids know the dangers and that they are responsible for making the decision to quit. And remember that there are lots of kids ‘out there and it’s your job as a parent to keep them safe. After all, that’s the most important thing.