A large number of people start smoking when they are teenagers. The factors that lead to starting to smoke are different in each case but, in most cases, evidence is available that demonstrates the existence of a number of myths about the benefits of tobacco that are very common among teenagers, as well as among adults.
At home, we can help prevent this habit that is so damaging to health, by destroying some of these beliefs:
- Tobacco helps you relax: in reality, tobacco increases anxiety! You can show them evidence of this in this link: http://www.tendencias21.net/Abandonar-el-tabaco-calma-la-ansiedad_a14688.html
- Tobacco helps you enjoy yourself: tobacco is often associated with social settings, going out with friends, parties; these are considered to be a source of information. However, whether these situations are entertaining or not does not depend so much on tobacco as on you yourself and on the people you have chosen to be with. You can help them think about their ways of having a good time, whether tobacco is an essential part of it, and whether there are some ways of enjoying yourself when no tobacco is involved. If one of their ways of having a good time is exercise, football, dancing, cycling, etc., you can also lead their thinking towards the fact that, instead of helping them have a good time, smoking reduces their ability to do so, can lead to them not having a good time and might even mean they have to give these up.
- Tobacco makes you look more grown up: a lot of teenagers smoke to reduce their insecurity levels and they think that smoking is something that makes you look more grown up. You can use a little humour by showing them pictures that actually show that tobacco makes you look older, but not in the way they think, because it ages the skin and makes your teeth black or yellow. http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.42812.1313747778!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/gallery_1200/gal-cuba-cigar3-jpg.jpg
- Tobacco helps you look after your body, because it is helps you slim. The following link shows a study which demonstrates this to be FALSE, because in reality it encourages overweight: http://www.aperderpeso.com/enfermedades-obesidad/relacion-entre-el-consumo-de-cigarrillo-y-obesidad.html
You can also do a search together for examples of people who have reduced their weight through having a good diet and playing sport.
- Tobacco helps your heart work better. You can prove this to be FALSE by using the content of this link (in Spanish): http://www.fundaciondelcorazon.com/prevencion/riesgo-cardiovascular/fumar-tabaco-tabaquismo.html
- Tobacco helps you make friends: this is perhaps the most difficult myth to counteract, because it sometimes helps us have conversations with people we don’t know. However, now that smokers cannot smoke in many places such as in restaurants or at cultural or sports events, smoking can result in being isolated from everyone else. So we recommend that you find ways to help them feel more self-assured by learning other skills to help them form relationships with other people.