Should you let your Teenager Smoke at Home – No

Parents should not allow their teens to smoke at home or anywhere around them. They should also make it clear that their teen shouldn’t be smoking in other places, either. It shouldn’t happen for two different reasons: it is detrimental to their teen’s health and it is illegal.

We already know that smoking causes health problems: emphysema, heart disease, lung and other cancers, birth defects in the unborn and premature aging. It is especially detrimental to teens. Why? Teenagers are still growing and their lungs are no exception. Allowing them to bombard their lungs with carcinogens is akin to watering seedlings with slow, accumulating poisons, only this is your child, not a plant.

Apparently, the lungs are not the only concern when it comes to teens. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry (Vol. 160, No. 6), published in June, 2003, studies have shown that the developing brains of teens are more susceptible to addictions. If we know someone is predisposed to particular harmful behaviors it does not make sense to allow them to partake of those behaviors.

Underage smoking is illegal. If parents allow their teens to smoke around them, they are permitting their teens to break the law. This is a bad idea, not just because they might get fined or placed on probation, but because it is like telling their teen that it is okay to break some laws- even the ones put in place to protect them. Allowing teens to smoke around us is giving them permission to defy authority. Parents are authorities. Why would parents shoot themselves in the foot? For what? To allow their teens to harm themselves in some kind of ignorant effort to be “cool”? Is their right-to-do-with-their-body-what-they-want-to-do-with-their-body more important than their future as healthy, respectful, law abiding citizens?

Even if parents smoke, that does not give their teenagers a good reason for smoking. It is not hypocritical of a parent to say, “It is not against the LAW for me to smoke. It is against the law for you to smoke. As an adult, I do have more rights. You’re not an adult, yet. What is more: I am the boss. Plain and simple.”

The excuse that if you don’t allow them to smoke at home they will just do it somewhere else is a bad one, too. Do parents really want a police officer, social worker, teacher or other authority questioning them because their kid got caught smoking and said, “My parents let me” ? If the thought of that embarrasses them, there is a reason for it. It is because they know it is wrong. As with many other destructive behaviors of teens, it may be easier to just let it happen, but it isn’t the right thing to do and as mature adults, we should know that.

Allowing teens to smoke is giving them permission to harm themselves and defy authority.

Don’t we already have enough of that?