Your Kid Smokes. Now What?

Here are tips and resources for helping your child quit smoking.

Here are tips and resources for helping your child quit smoking
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One resource you might want to explore with your teen is the National Cancer Institute's SmokefreeTXT program. When teens sign up for this service, they're sent about two or three unprompted texts each day for six weeks that aim to help them quit smoking. As the program website states, a sample text may be: "What makes you wanna smoke? Stress? Boredom? Parties? Write down your top three smoking triggers. Knowing them is the only way to avoid them!"

In addition to receiving unprompted texts, teens can text the service number. For example, they can text "WANT" when they're facing a craving and receive an encouraging message to fight it, or they can text "BOOST" when they're feeling down or stressed and receive a tip to help them lighten up without lighting up.

Even the timing of the unprompted texts are tailored for teens, Hunt says. She gives the example that teens using the service may receive a text early in the morning, when they often smoke before school.

Other resources for quitting include the National Cancer Institute's SmokeFree Teen website, which, under the "Your Call" tab, includes a mobile app for quitting and a link to an instant messaging service for live support and more. Teens can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for live counseling, Hunt says.

Pharmaceutical smoking cessation aids used by adults, like nicotine patches, are not approved over-the-counter products for teenagers, Hunt says. "There's just not enough evidence to support that those medications work to help teens quit smoking," she says. "Clinically, that's something the teen and their doctor could talk about if they feel they need some extra help quitting."

Don't give up. Helping your child to quit smoking "is not a talk-about-it-once-and-you're-done type of thing," Hunt says. "It's a process. Continue to monitor and talk about it, keep going and don't give up."