Project Connect is a smoking cessation and reduction program that has been developed and launched especially for adolescents. Although teens are aware of the harmful effects of smoking on their health they are still inclined towards being influenced by movies, television and advertisements, and friends. Hence, it is noted that teens are very likely to believe in myths about smoking which causes them to fail in the attempt to quit smoking. Wherever they have developed these misconceptions, it is important to properly educate and inform them of the true facts regarding smoking and help them succeed in their smoking cessation.
The Center for Disease Control and prevention disclose that 1 out of every 5 teens smokes cigarettes and more than 3,000 teenagers are becoming regular smokers every day. 82% of these teenagers lie in the 11-19 year age bracket and would really like to quit the habit.
Project CONNECT has listed down 5 common myths about tobacco smoking that usually cause adolescents to fail in their smoking cessation:
1. Smoking can reduce stress. Teens who smoke assert that it was through smoking that they were able to cope with stress. They are stunned when they are informed that this is not the case but smoking increases stress among those who smoke and this is proven by a psychologist listed by the American Psychological Association.
2. Light Smoking is less hazardous. Teens believe that moderate smoking is alright and less harmful than regular smoking. The fact is there is no guaranteed level of cigarette use considered safe and even those who smoke a few cigarettes every day can be inflicted with smoke related illnesses.
3. Teens do not have to be bothered on the ill effects of smoking. Young people think that illnesses due to smoking can only happen to adults who have been smoking for a long time already. These teens have to realize that smoking can in fact cause short-term illnesses and affect people of a younger age.
4. Social smokers can less likely get addicted to smoking. Usually young people start to smoke not because they plan to make a habit out of it but they want to try smoking or they want to fit into their peer groups. The fact is, according to the American Cancer Society, anybody who begins smoking can be addicted to nicotine and may have a hard time quitting.
5. Young people can quit themselves. They believe that quitting smoking is an easy task and will not require any professional help . The truth is that 3 out of 4 teen smokers who have tried quitting have failed, according to the records of Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative. It is believed that these teens do not have adequate information about the techniques and resources to be successful in quitting smoking.
Mylene Krzanowski from Caron Treatment Centers recounted that they discovered that most of the addicted young people wanted to quit but were going through too many hindrances because they lacked adequate and correct information. She said that commitment to a cessation program is a method that can be devastating for these young people to do alone. It is then critical that parents, school faculty, and staff adhere on the evidence-based smoking cessation plans or techniques that answer to the needs and concerns of these age clusters to help teens focus on their goal of quitting.
As parents, we have to keep our line of communicating with them open and let them feel that we are with them in their journey of quitting. Our attitude will be critical in this process. We have to have patience and understanding as they go through a difficult time in their life.