Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action: A Guide for NH Parents and Caregivers

Apr 1, 2024

You Are Their Teacher, Guide, and Advocate When It Comes to Health – Don’t Let Tobacco Get in the Way

Dont let big tobacco hook another generation | Take Down Tobacco National Day of ActionTake Down Tobacco National Day of Action is more than a national day of action; it’s a rallying cry for communities across the country, including here in New Hampshire, to stand up against the sale and advertising of tobacco and nicotine, showing why it’s important to market products in a way that protects health. As parents and caregivers, we play a necessary role in guiding young people through the challenges they face, including the pressure to use tobacco products. The landscape of tobacco use has evolved, with new products like nicotine pouches joining vapes and e-cigarettes in the lineup of products that attract young users. This makes your role even more crucial.

Understanding the Appeal

The first step in any conversation is understanding. Tobacco companies have long targeted young people in their marketing efforts, glamorizing tobacco use in ways that appeal to the desire for fitting in and perceived adulthood. Vaping, in particular, has been marketed as a safer alternative to smoking, despite growing evidence of its health risks. Teens and young adults may also view vaping as more socially acceptable or use it to relieve stress.

What’s the Science?

Nicotine is a powerful and highly addictive drug, especially for young people. Its effectiveness comes from its ability to quickly activate the brain’s reward system, causing the release of pleasure chemicals. This immediate sense of reward promotes repeated use, creating a cycle of dependency. Moreover, products are specifically engineered to deliver nicotine quickly and efficiently, reinforcing this cycle.

The Impact of Your Voice

two adult caregivers and one teen making meal inside kitchenYour influence as a parent or caregiver is powerful! Studies have shown that teens who talk regularly with their parents about the dangers of tobacco and vaping are less likely to start using these products. This Take Down Tobacco Day, let’s use our voices to protect our youth from tobacco use and nicotine addiction. By opening the door to honest conversations, we can empower our teens and young adults to make informed, healthy choices that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Starting the Conversation

Talking with young people about tobacco use can feel daunting. Here are 5 suggestions for making those conversations more constructive.

  • Talk Early and Often: Have age-appropriate conversations about tobacco use and healthy choices. For younger kids, start by asking them what they know about tobacco use or vaping and where they heard it. For older kids, ask about their goals and interests, then how tobacco or vaping could impact them. Set clear boundaries and be clear that the use of any tobacco products is not healthy or legal for young people.
  • Be Open and Nonjudgmental: Start by asking open-ended questions about what your teen knows and thinks about tobacco and vaping. It’s important to create a safe space where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences.
  • Educate, Don’t Lecture: Share information about the risks associated with tobacco and vaping, including nicotine addiction, health consequences, and the tactics of tobacco advertising. Try to inform rather than to scold.
  • Discuss Peer Pressure: Talk about the influence of peers and social media including ways your teen can resist peer pressure and make healthy choices.
  • Plan Together: Encourage your teen to think about their goals and how tobacco use could impact those ambitions. Together, you can develop a plan for how they might respond to offers of tobacco or situations where it’s being used.


Resources and Support

Youth don’t have to navigate this challenge alone. There are a variety of resources available to support parents and caregivers in these conversations:

  • Take Down Tobacco: Take Down Tobacco is the campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ signature platform for empowering young people to fight Big Tobacco. Alongside a movement of elected leaders, parents, teachers, healthcare providers, and advocates, they ensure young people have a seat at the table to work together toward a tobacco-free generation
  • Save Your Breath: Save Your Breath is a social marketing campaign to raise awareness about the harms of vaping among youth aged 13-18 living in New Hampshire. The campaign encourages youth to stand up to Big Tobacco in order to take back control of their physical and mental health, money, and time.
  • My Life, My Quit: My Life, My Quit offers teens access to specially trained Quit Coaches that will help them build a quit plan, identify triggers, practice refusal skills, and obtain ongoing support for changing behaviors in order to be free from nicotine.
    School Programs and Counselors: Many schools have educational programs and counselors who can provide support and resources to students.
  • Online Resources: Websites like the CDC’s “Talk With Your Teen About E-cigarettes” and The Partnership’s Get The Facts page offer tips and tools for discussing vaping.

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