Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Teens > Teen Health and Safety > Teens and Smoking > Fifteen-Year-Old Addicted to Cigarettes
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Fifteen-Year-Old Addicted to Cigarettes

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: I'm a 15-year-old female who started smoking at age 10. My parents are non-smokers. They don't believe that I can be addicted at my age (but I am).

They grounded me for three months and made me chew and swallow a whole pack of cigarettes. I'm polite about my habit. I take it outside and don't do it in front of my parents.

How do I get them to understand?

A: As you are well aware through your own cigarette addiction, a person of any age, including kids of all ages, can become addicted to cigarettes. Cigarettes contain nicotine, one of the strongest physically addicting substances known. Many smokers use cigarettes as a psycological crutch to calm them down, to lift their spirits, to keep them focused, and to offset boredom. Maybe you also have discovered that cigarettes can suppress your appetite; many girls and women use cigarettes to keep thin.

Your parents making you chew and swallow a pack of cigarettes shows their desperation and total lack of understanding about this addiction. They are punishing you for something you need a lot of help to stop. Usually people stop and start up smoking again three times before they quit for good.

Your parents need to have your addiction explained to them by a health professional, perhaps your pediatrician or family doctor. The American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, along with many other local (and regional programs and probably the HMO you parents might belong to) have stop-smoking and support groups in your area. Please contact your doctor and speak with her first about talking to your parents. Then take the courageous step to quit and enlist the support of as many family and friends as you can to help you. If you think that your parents would listen to me, have them email me and I will explain the situation to them.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!