Smoking: Other Important Thoughts

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Talking About Smoking
Research has shown that youth who start smoking during adolescence will be faced with lifelong health consequences. As trust and respect develops between you and your mentee, you may find yourself in an ideal position to help them make healthy choices.
   
  • Don’t use or purchase tobacco when you’re with your mentee.
  • Always contact your program staff if you have concerns about your mentee and are unsure what to say or do.
  • Maintain confidentiality whenever possible in order to preserve trust.
  • Avoid talking directly to your mentee’s parent/guardian about smoking unless you have their permission to do so and your program staff is in agreement.
  • If you stop feeling like a mentor and start feeling like a classroom teacher, you’re probably coming on too strong. Keep it short, simple and fun.
  • Pay attention to the signals your Little Sister or Little Brother is giving. If they express boredom, annoyance or discomfort with the conversation, take the hint. Consider trying again another day or simply acknowledge that the topic is not a good fit for them.
  • Have responses ready in case your mentee discloses having smoked, expresses concern about others’ smoking, or asks smoking-related questions.
  • Conversations about tobacco will be more effective if you take the opportunity to teach your mentee how to stay-smoke free and make healthy choices. With positive coping skills, they will be less likely to engage in risky behaviours.