Kids and Smoking: What's the Worst Thing to Say?
by Staff
Believe it or not, research suggests that kids actually do value what their parents tell them about smoking and other addictive substances. So before you have the big smoking talk with your kids, take our quiz to make sure you know how NOT to answer some of their questions.

Why is what you say about smoking different from what I read on the Internet?

  • You should listen to what I say, not what you read somewhere else.
  • You're right, I wasn't being 100 percent truthful.
  • Not everyone agrees on everything when it comes to smoking.

Is smoking really that bad for you?

  • Yes. As soon as you start smoking, it will get harder to breathe and play sports.
  • Yes. The health effects of smoking will eventually catch up to you, someday.
  • Yes. It will even start to stain your teeth and give you bad breath.

You smoke. Why shouldn't I?

  • Because becoming a smoker is something I regret.
  • Do as I say, not as I do.
  • Because smoking is bad for you and me, and I could end up sick from it, too.

Can I smoke these new "e-cigarettes" instead?

  • E-cigarettes are so new, the government has not even regulated them yet so it's better to stay away.
  • E-cigarettes haven't been extensively tested, so they're not safe enough for you to try.
  • E-cigarettes don't have any tobacco in them, so they are safer than regular cigarettes.

Why is there so much smoking on TV?

  • You might think smoking on TV makes characters look cool, but they don't explain what happens when you smoke in real life.
  • Some people smoke in real life, so some people smoke on TV; it's only natural.
  • Sometimes people smoke on TV because of product placement from the tobacco companies.

Can I smoke as long as I don't do it in the house?

  • You can't smoke at all, at least until you're 18.
  • Absolutely not.
  • I don't like it, but I can't stop you from smoking when I'm not there.

How can I quit smoking if I've already started?

  • We can talk to your pediatrician about options to quit smoking.
  • Quitting is up to you. You got yourself into this mess.
  • First we need to make a list of your reasons for quitting to help motivate you.

What if I slip up and have one cigarette after I decide to quit?

  • If that happens, it means you're grounded for a week.
  • If that happens, go back to quitting immediately. Don't let one slip-up ruin all of your hard work.
  • If you slip up, you'll have to go through all of the withdrawals and cravings all over again.

My friends say it's okay to smoke so why can't I?

  • Because we agreed that you aren't allowed to make that decision until you're old enough.
  • Because we've talked about the dangers of smoking, and you know it's not a good idea.
  • Because I said so.

Won't I be okay as long as I quit smoking before I get older?

  • No. Any amount of smoking is bad for your health.
  • No. Smoking is extremely addictive, and there's no guarantee you'll be able to quit.
  • Yes. It's okay to experiment with smoking a little while you're young.

What should I say if a friend offers me a cigarette?

  • Tell them that you think smoking is wrong and bad for your health.
  • Tell them no thanks. That you don't want to smell like smoke.
  • Tell them no. You don't want to get addicted because you're saving your money up for a car.

Should I stop being someone’s friend if they start smoking?

  • Absolutely stop being their friend.
  • No. You should continue to be their friend.
  • Maybe you should think about whether someone who pressures you into smoking is the best person to be friends with.

I heard chewing tobacco isn't as bad as cigarettes. Can I do that?

  • Yes. If you feel strongly about it, chewing is at least safer than smoking.
  • No. Chewing tobacco has just as many health consequences as smoking.
  • No. Chewing tobacco is still addictive.

Are menthol cigarettes less addictive?

  • Yes. Menthol cigarettes are less addictive than normal cigarettes.
  • Honestly, there is very little difference between menthol and regular cigarettes.
  • No. Menthol cigarettes are extremely addictive, just like regular cigarettes.

Are you going to quit smoking?

  • Quitting smoking is a struggle, but I will quit if you promise not to start.
  • I have tried to quit smoking before, but I'll try again if we can do it together.
  • I don't need to quit smoking.

How addictive is nicotine really?

  • Nicotine is more addictive than heroine.
  • Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in the world.
  • Nicotine is addictive, but it's always possible to quit.

Can't I smoke every once in awhile without becoming an addict?

  • Yes, 10 percent of people don't become addicted, so you do have a chance.
  • It's true that not every smoker is addicted to nicotine, but it's not worth the risk.
  • Smoking once in awhile can be a slippery slope. Once you start, it can be very hard to stop, even if you're not addicted.

If it's so hard to quit smoking, why bother trying?

  • Quitting smoking is always a good idea, because your health will improve once you stop.
  • Quitting smoking is hard, but you can do it with your family's support.
  • Because you have to follow the rules of my house, and I'm telling you to quit.

If smoking is so bad, does that mean smokers are bad people?

  • No. People who smoke just made a bad decision.
  • No. Smoking is very addictive, and used to be very popular, so a lot of people who might not want to smoke still do.
  • Yes. You shouldn't associate with people who smoke.

If smoking is bad, why did you used to let me buy candy cigarettes?

  • Candy cigarettes used to be a lot more popular, but people have realized that they can make kids think smoking is okay.
  • It clearly wasn't a good idea for us to play with those candy cigarettes when you were younger.
  • Candy cigarettes aren't that bad. They were just for fun. Cigarettes are much worse.