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We can't expect our kids to approach us about the dangers of smoking. That's why we need to be on the lookout for good opportunities to initiate the discussion ourselves. Whether driving them to sports practice, going out to dinner, or watching television, take the time to talk to them and get them talking to you. Remember to ask good questions, listen to their answers, and always look for common ground. And be sure to keep your words and ideas at a level they can understand. To discover some effective ways to get the conversation started with your child, just see the age-specific suggestions below.

Ages 6-8
It’s never too early to start talking with your child about the dangers of smoking. Some good ways to start the conversation with your 6-8 year-old might be:

"What have they taught you in school about the dangers of smoking?"

If you see someone put out a cigarette or see cigarette butts on the ground, comment on how you feel about that and ask your kids what they think.

Ages 9-11
Even if you’ve started talking early on with your child about the dangers of smoking, it’s important to continue talking often about the subject. Here are some effective ways to open a dialogue with children 9-11.

“Why do you think some teenagers smoke even though it is so dangerous?”

“Why do you think I chose to sit in the 'No Smoking' section?”

Ages 12-15
Remember that any time together is a good time to talk with your child about smoking. Some effective conversation starters you might use with your 12-15 year-old could be:

“What do you think when you see kids smoking?”

“What are some good reasons you might give your own child for not smoking?”

When you’re watching a movie or television show together where a character smokes, wait until after the show and ask, “What did you think about that character who always had a cigarette dangling from their mouth?”

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Q: Why is it important to continually keep the topic of smoking in your conversations?