Page:Your teenage children and smoking.djvu/12

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For a long time every young girl and boy has seen people around him smoking. He has heard a steady sales talk about the pleasures and advantages of cigarettes, from people close at hand as well as from the radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, billboards. If his parents present only the anti-smoking side, he may think that they are not being honest with him.

He has often heard and believes many pro-cigarette arguments. For instance:

Smoking helps the smoker concentrate.
Smoking stimulates thinking.
It relaxes and releases tensions.
It soothes nerves.
The act itself and the tobacco taste give pleasure.
It is one of the good things of life.

Smoking may well seem to be and do all of that. But on the other hand, there is no question that smoking can be the road to disability and early death.

From time to time, gently remind your boy or girl of the facts. Try to be able to match each pro-statement with medical evidence of smoking dangers. If you pull the rug out from under his beliefs, do it gently. Always remember, whether you agree with your child or not, your girl or boy has his own beliefs and standards. You wouldn't want it any other way. You want him to have them and fight to keep them inviolate as long as he is convinced they are right.

You may be uncertain yourself about the dangers of smoking. Still your child will want you to take a stand one way or the other. If you do not, he will wonder if you have his best interest at heart. For his sake, say to him: "No smoking for you." By saying "no" you show him that you care about his welfare.