It's pretty safe to say that at this point Zane is not going to be a cigarette smoker. I know this because I asked him. He contorted his face to imply that I was asking the most ridiculous question imaginable and slowly said, "Yeahhhhhhh." If you know any teenagers, you will know the face I speak of and the tone his answer was given in.
I believe him.
I won't start celebrating yet, but I'm pretty close to allowing myself to feel giddy and super proud. Being a non-smoker was not at all a given in Zane's life. I smoked (until I got pregnant), his father smoked, my mother smoked (Can you imagine? So weird). Smoking is more prevalent at his high school than in others and in between the ages of 13 and 16 his personality and boredom made peer pressure a powerful and scary presence in our lives. Not that he ever did anything really terrible, just that the possibility was always there, right on the edge of his daily life.
The prospect of Zane getting trapped in a cigarette addicted reality makes me insane with rage. It's true - you should see the inside of my mind when I think about it. It's scary and messy and red.
So here's what we did: in additon to creating a general culture of discouragement using standard techniques like guilt, shame, and fear, and in spite of how much I want to believe Alfie Kohn and his Punished by Rewards book, we offered Zane a ticket to anywhere in Europe if he got to 18 without becoming a smoker. Not only did this give him a bit of internal motivation (the kid really wants to get to Europe) but it gave him something to say in response to, "Want a drag?" that was way more cool than having to say, "No, because my parents will kill me."
I'm not sure that he would attribute his non-smokerness to this dangling carrot, but we don't care. If it played a part in any way it will well be worth it. Of course, he could go to Europe, the land of smokers, and become a smoker.