Page:Your teenage children and smoking.djvu/13

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Children say they started to smoke for a number of reasons:

Some girls say it makes them feel more alluring, sophisticated, wanted, companionable.

Likely smoking makes many of them feel that way. But there's another side to the coin: stale tobacco odor on breath and clothes, yellow stains on teeth and fingers.

Both boys and girls say it makes them feel grownup.

No doubt it does make them feel grown-up. Maybe too many times they have heard or been told to wait until they "grow up" before they start smoking or that smoking is for "grownups" only.

But there are so many other things—worthwhile and not dangerous—that will do the same for a child.

Also, many adults are thinking now that smoking is not so grownup after all and are stopping it.

They say smoking relaxes them.

In most everything we do we have to weigh the good against the bad. At first smoking does relax. But in the long run it adds to nervousness and if you practice it long enough it eventually may disable and kill.

And again, maybe we can find ways to relax that are not so risky. Sometimes children say they smoke because all of the gang does. They say: "If I don't smoke, I'm chicken. They wouldn't even speak to me if I didn't."