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Parents are constantly finding new and inventive ways to talk with their kids about why they shouldn’t smoke. Here are some examples of success stories and suggestions that parents have submitted. Look through their creative approaches for ideas that can help you effectively communicate with your child about the benefits of leading a smoke-free life.

Click here to share your success stories and ideas.

Look for teachable moments
Debora Bettis, Blackshear GA

My husband and I use "teachable moments" to talk to our son about life choices. By introducing the subject in a casual way, we feel we can teach him about serious subjects without frightening him. Even though he is young, we feel he needs to know there are results from our choices. At this time, we have introduced the dangers of smoking, alcohol abuse and "stranger danger." We want him to have a strong sense of self, so the peer pressure he will face will not erode his personal convictions about life.

We know that a large part of building a child's self esteem is to remind him, over and over, that he is loved by his family. There are so many influences in the real world to tear him down, we look for ways to build him up.

Driving your point home
Debbie Erickson, Cincinatti OH

Our family uses the time that we are driving in the car to talk about saying, “NO!” to smoking, drugs and alcohol. We talk/act out scenes that our daughter describes about someone trying to get her to smoke, hold a cigarette so that someone does not get caught smoking and also scenes where second-hand smoke is the issue. By acting these scenes out, our daughter gets to practice what to say and how to say it. If she has questions or concerns, she always asks and we all discuss them. Before our daughter was born, my husband and I decided that we would start talking about saying, “NO! right away... after all, if it is important, why wait? Our daughter has been learning about smoking, drugs and alcohol for the past three years ...she’ll be six in June!

Use commercials to convey your message
Janeen Manuel, Winston-Salem NC

We often browse through magazines with our kids. When we come to cigarette ads, we sometimes casually say, "I wonder what about this ad makes people want to smoke?" That gets the ball rolling, with the kids commenting on the pretty women and the "cool" guys sitting in fancy cars. We laugh about how ridiculous it is to think that someone could pick up a cigarette and suddenly all of these wonderful things appear! With this element of humor, the kids don't feel like a lecture is in progress. But they get the point that ads can play upon our fantasies-and that they are smart enough to see through it. And they've transferred this to other topics and mediums. For instance, they'll see a commercial for a "cool" product and comment on how it doesn't quite match reality. A few minutes of casual conversation can really make a difference!

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Q: What are some effective ways you've heard of parents connecting with their kids about smoking?