Are you pushing your kids in the path of smoking? Maybe you are, although you have not realized it yet. A study conducted by the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Columbia University reveals that most smokers start smoking as teenagers because their smoker parents are the main source of influence. In fact, teenagers have double the chance of getting dependant on nicotine if even one of their parents smokes cigarettes. If you are not worried about your own health, then leave the cancer sticks at least for your child’s future. And believe it or not, the best way to quit smoking is by educating your children about its adverse effects. The biggest challenge after quitting is to remain a non-smoker. Recent researches by the Public Health Research Division of RTI International show that this is where the discussions can come in handy.
The Research Results
The RTI International research followed 1,600 US parents, with a mean age of 37 years, who had children aged between 8 years and 10 years. They participated in the study when they called a smoking cessation hotline. Most of the parents in this survey had started smoking at the age of 16, smoked at least a pack or 20 cigarettes every day, and had tried quitting at least once before calling up the hotline. Out of the original 1,600 parents, only 689 were able to quit the habit again within 24 hours of calling. Half of these 689 parents were handed out six magazines that contained elaborate details on conversation tips and anti-smoking activities they can conduct with their children. On the other hand, however, the other half of parents didn’t get any help as such.
Only 465 out of 689 parents were present at the end of the study after a year. It was found that parents who were sorted into the support group and discussed about the ill effects of smoking with their children were twice more likely to stay away from cigarettes than the ones who were not a part of it. This research was the very first of its kind which explored the possibility of a parent-child interaction in helping smokers stay away from a relapse. And although the study was conducted on a small scale, its results were satisfactory and meaningful.
An Effective Approach
Dr. Christine Jackson of RTI International is of the opinion that the research has been highly successful. It has opened up a new way to aid adult smokers, especially the ones with school-going kids, kick the butt once and for all. She said that the original idea of the research was to find out the credibility of this conversation in helping teenagers stay away from smoking. Astonishingly, smoker parents were also seen to be affected by the discussion. It’s a win-win situation.
But how can talking to children help parents stay away from cigarettes? According to Jonathan Bricker, a behavioral scientist at the University of Washington, “Humans tend to want to act consistent with what they teach others. By teaching your child, you hold yourself more accountable. If you teach it, you are more likely to do it yourself.” Even subconsciously, parents want to set a good example in front of their kids, and in this case, they are doing it by securing their own identities as non-smokers.
Children are sometimes the biggest motivators for parents. There is little surprise that talking to your kids is the best way to quit smoking and to avoid a relapse. Yes, it is difficult, but can’t you do this for your kid? Yes you can.