Talking to Your Child About Smoking & Vaping

open packet of cigarettes

Reading Time: 5 mins  

Suitable for: Families of primary-age children  

Did you know that most adult smokers start smoking before they are 18 years old? The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) found that most adult smokers have had their first cigarette or are already addicted to nicotine by the age of 18. The younger someone starts smoking, the more likely they are to continue as an adult, and they have a lower chance of quitting, too.

So, with this in mind, it is important to have conversations about smoking early.

Risks of smoking 

According to the NHS, smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK. Many people are currently living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses as the harmful chemicals in cigarettes affect the entire body.

Smoking can cause:

  • Gum disease, yellow teeth and bad breath 
  • Bad-smelling clothes and hair 
  • Increased risk of illnesses such as colds, flu and bronchitis 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Ulcers 
  • Weaker bones 

Over time, smoking can lead to serious health problems, such as:

  • Heart disease 
  • Stroke 
  • Lung damage, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)  
  • Many types of cancer, including lung, throat and stomach 


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