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What are some ways to stop a 20 year old boy from smoking? We know that smoking is bad and cause all sort of cancers (such as lung / heart / throat cancer), are there ways to stop or discourage the boy from smoking?

My colleague's son saw his grandfather smoking and wanted to follow in his footstep, even though my colleague and her spouse do not smoke. My colleague even scolded her father for smoking in front of her grandson.

Are there any solutions to this problem?

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How did such a young child even get cigarettes in the first place? I wonder if this is a legal issue, as it's definitely illegal to sell to minors in North America, and I strongly suspect buying for a minor is as well... –  Chris Dec 19 '12 at 7:55
    
@Chris, Thanks for the note, actually a typo mistake, it is 20, not 10. –  Jack Dec 19 '12 at 8:39
    
She could ask him nicely? –  DA01 Dec 19 '12 at 8:47
    
Lol - there's definitely a big difference between 10 and 20, which would make the general tone of my answer very different... –  Chris Dec 19 '12 at 8:50
    
How did such a young child even get cigarettes in the first place? Oh, wait. They bought them for themselves because they're an adult :-/ –  Django Reinhardt Dec 22 '12 at 11:24
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4 Answers

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The younger the child is, the more impact you'll be able to have. A 10-year-old could be more heavily influenced by his parents, while a 20-year-old may already consider himself an adult capable of making his own decisions.

It's important that he understands the dangers of his behavior - this discussion needs to happen, and it might have the most impact if his grandfather (the perceived source of his desire) plays a large role in this discussion.

The second page of this article provides some good prevention tips such as:

  • Discuss it in a way that doesn't make kids fear punishment or judgment.
  • Ask what kids find appealing — or unappealing — about smoking. Be a patient listener.
  • Encourage kids to get involved in activities that prohibit smoking, such as sports.
  • Explain how much smoking governs the daily life of kids who start doing it. How do they afford the cigarettes? How do they have money to pay for other things they want? How does it affect their friendships?
  • Establish firm rules that exclude smoking and chewing tobacco from your house and explain why: Smokers smell bad, look bad, and feel bad, and it's bad for everyone's health.

I've specifically highlighted the last one, as it's something that can apply to any age, and at least keeps the parents house a smoke free environment, even if he decides to continue smoking.

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** NOTE** This answer was written when the question was originally referring to a 10-year-old instead of 20-year-old - not really sure what to do with the answer now that the question has changed... –  Chris Dec 19 '12 at 8:52
    
if the answer no longer applies, I'd suggest either editing it to address the updated question, or deleting it if you feel it cannot be salvaged. –  Beofett Dec 19 '12 at 13:08
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@Beofett - I've just done this while trying to keep most of the original content. –  Chris Dec 19 '12 at 16:12
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When a person is 20 years old, in most places, they are considered an adult and can make their own decisions. Parenting adults is a challenge.

  1. Check local public health resources. In the US, there are state funded resources, such as http://www.tobaccofreeca.org/ and http://www.nobutts.org/ or call 1-800-NO-BUTTS

  2. Encourage the person to talk to their doctor. Doctors have all sorts of resources, and patients whose doctors recommended quitting are more likely to quit.

  3. Set boundaries. Your colleague can have rules such as no smoking or second or third hand smoke in their house, cars.

  4. Be aware and willing to help as her son goes through the stages of change: precontemplative, contemplative, preparation, action, and maintenance.

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Really, there's nothing your colleague can do. If her son wants to smoke, he'll smoke.

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As a former 20-year-old smoker whose mother tried to convince her not to smoke, I can vouch for this answer. There wasn't a thing she could have done that I didn't just roll my eyes at. –  KitFox Dec 19 '12 at 21:57
    
If a person has chosen to continue smoking, then there may be little another person can do about it. It may be helpful for your colleague to be aware of the stages of change (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transtheoretical_model) that a person goes through. Then your colleague can figure out what kind of intervention, if any, could be most helpful. –  5un5 Dec 20 '12 at 17:21
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At 20, its going to be difficult. He's got the independence and rights of adult, although few 20 year olds have the wisdom to use that responsibly (I know I didn't!).

Realistically, you can't expect to convince a 20 year old to stop doing something they've decided to do. I think the best you can work towards is making sure he knows all of the downsides.

You've already mentioned the health aspect, and that's certainly huge, but in my experience, most 20 year olds operate under the assumption that they are effectively immortal.

Some other effects of smoking that he may not have fully considered, and may strike a little bit closer to what he considers near and dear, are financial and social problems.

Point out just how much money he'll spend on cigarettes over the course of a year. Many smokers find themselves smoking a pack a day, or more, and this adds up to some staggering amounts invested over time. If your colleague's father smokes a lot, you could find out how much he spends a year, and multiply that by however many years he's been smoking.

The other aspect to point out is social. This is a bit of a double-edged sword, because peer pressure is the biggest reason most people start smoking, so it may be that everyone he hangs out with smokes. However, I've never met a smoker who objected to my not smoking, even when I was trying to quit. More importantly, though, smoking is a big turn-off for many people, and if he finds out that potential romantic interests may immediately blow him off because they don't want to "kiss an ashtray", it may help put things in perspective. Mouthwash only helps so much; there are quite a few non-smokers out there who simply have no interest in long-term relationships with someone who has to gargle before makeout sessions in order to not smell/taste offensive.

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