Are you a teen who smokes? Get tips and tricks for quitting right here.
You hang out with people you have stuff in common with, right? Well, teens who smoke usually hang out with people who smoke too. So what do you do when you want to quit smoking and your friends don't? Will your relationships change while you're trying to stop smoking? You should know that being tobacco-free could cause changes (good and bad) in some of your relationships. To protect yourself from the dangers of smoking, it’s important to be ready for relationship changes so you can deal with them constructively. 
 
Here are some things to think about:
  • You have plenty in common: You won't lose your friends just because you stop smoking. You and your friends have plenty of other things in common besides smoking. Remind yourself of what they are.
  • Agree to disagree: You have your reasons for quitting. You need to do what's right for you to avoid the dangers of smoking. But don't judge your friends who aren't ready to quit. They need to do it on their own time.
  • Who's pressuring you to smoke? You or your friends? Most teens pressure themselves into smoking as a way to be accepted by friends. Most of your friends don't care if you say no. 
  • NOT everyone is doing it: Most people seriously overestimate the number of people who are current smokers. About 80 percent of teens do NOT smoke! Tobacco companies spend tons of money to make teens think smoking is popular – all while downplaying the health problems caused by smoking. 

Here are some things to do:

  • Change up your routines and patterns: You have routines and patterns for interacting with other people, and you probably have patterns for smoking. Think about it. You smoke with the same people, at the same time, in the same place, and while you're doing the same thing (like sharing cigarettes after school or smoking in the car with friends). You may not realize these patterns at first, but you'll need to identify them so you can begin to make changes. Mix up your routine by suggesting tobacco-free activities or seeking out the company of friends who don't smoke.
  • Avoid certain social situations: At first, it may be best to avoid social situations that trigger you to smoke. If your plan to quit involves some major changes, try explaining to your friends (and family) that you're not avoiding them, but you are avoiding situations that might make you want to smoke.
  • Ask for help. It doesn't have to be hard. It's important to tell close friends and relatives about your plan to quit smoking. Let them know how they can help you! It can strengthen your relationships.
 
The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline offers quit coaching for youth 14 years and older. Nicotine replacement products are only available to those 18 years and older. Resources are also available for parents seeking support with helping a youth smoker quit. 
 
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