(HealthDay News) -- It's important to educate children and teens about the dangers of smoking to help prevent them from picking up the deadly habit.

The American Lung Association lists these guidelines to help parents talk to their kids about not smoking:

  • Clearly and consistently tell your children that you do not want them to smoke, and start the conversation around age 5 or 6 and continue into high school.
  • Explain that smoking will endanger their health and cause unpleasant side effects such as bad breath.
  • If you smoke, quit. Don't allow your children to be around smokers and don't allow anyone to smoke inside your home.
  • Teach your child how to say no when someone offers a cigarette.
  • If you find out that your child is smoking, ask questions to find out why he or she started. Avoid threats and ultimatums.
  • Support your child in quitting smoking, and talk to your child about the ways that cigarettes are addictive.