At what age should one talk about smoking?

Only one quarter of the Swiss population smokes. And from a very young age children know that smoking is dangerous for the health. You know it too, and you must continue saying so. Children don’t like the smoke and often complain when parents smoke. But upon reaching adolescence, this can change.

At the age of fifteen, 9 young people out of 10 do not smoke. Your child probably knows teenagers who smoke, and may want to try.

It’s the opportunity to talk about smoking. You must try to know what your teenager thinks. One can talk about it upon seeing information about smoking, watching a TV series or talking to a friend who smokes. The idea is not to subject them to a conference, but to provide them with information that makes sense. One should repeat that smoking is very dangerous for your health on the long-term.

State clearly that you are against any kind of smoking. It is a very good way to help your child never to start. Even if you smoke yourself. In that case, explain to them why you smoke.

What my teenager must know about smoking

Of course, he or she must know that it is dangerous, but health risks don’t interest teenagers too much. You can tell your teenager:

With cigarettes, you quickly lose your freedom

One quickly becomes “addicted” to nicotine, even without realizing it. When one is a teenager, one becomes more easily addicted than an adult. It doesn’t take a lot of smoking to become addicted.

Smoking ruins one’s finances

Smoking is expensive. So, smoking means less money for outings, clothes, hobbies, etc.

The tobacco industry manipulates you

The tobacco enterprises want your money. They’ll do anything for you to start smoking before the age of 20. They invest a lot in advertising, festivals, social networks, culture.

Smelling like an ashtray is not sexy

Bad breath, cold tobacco smell on the clothes and in the hair: not the best fragrance. Who likes that?

Tobacco leads to oxygen deprivation

Smoking means having less oxygen in the blood. Non-smokers show better results at sports. Their skin is more beautiful.

Smoking is stressful for the heart

Nicotine makes the heart beat faster, 10 to 15 extra beats per minute. The pressure in the arteries rises when one smokes a cigarette, even when one is a teenager.

Taking the pill and smoking is dangerous. Girls who take the pill risk very serious blood circulation issues.

We also invite you to learn more about the myths that are told regarding tobacco.


  • Online Quiz: to take with the teenager to test their knowledge about tobacco.

Does my child smoke?

His clothes smell like smoke. Her friends smoke. Do you think your child smokes?

It is not a good idea to go through their things to prove it, teenagers are entitled to the respect of their privacy.

Talk about the problem calmly with your daughter, with your son. Say what you think without criticizing in a personal way.

Your teenager doesn’t smoke? Express your pride and congratulations. And say it’s a good choice on their part.

My child smokes!

When parents learn that their teenager smokes, they don’t always know how to react. Should one give them lots of information about the dangers of tobacco? Talk to them about lung cancer? Or say “it’s okay, you have to experiment”?

You can start by looking at the situation together: Since when do you smoke? How much? Which product? In what situation? What does it bring you? What are you looking for?

This discussion will allow you to analyse the situation together.

Then, clearly state your position: you don’t want your child to smoke. Explain why: risks for the health now or later, quick addiction, etc. Insist on respecting your smoke-free apartment (see Contract for a smoke-free home).

Think together about other ways to achieve the sought goals (relaxing, looking cool, etc.).

Encourage your child to stop smoking.

No desire to stop smoking? Keep informing your teenager about tobacco. Keep stating firmly that you are against tobacco. The goal is for your teenager to change, little by little.

Ready to try to quit smoking? Congratulate him, congratulate her, and be ready to help them.

See also the tab “ Parents“.

How to help them quit smoking

This is it; your teenage child has made up his or her mind: he/she wants to stop smoking. Congratulations are welcome! This is not an easy decision, especially for a teenager. Getting clean of tobacco is hard and the relapses are frequent.

You can guide them towards websites that help them quitting (for example: You can also ask them to see a doctor or a specialist to get some advice. They may be advised to take a nicotine substitute.

You can support your teenager in several ways:

  • tell them you are proud of their initiative;
  • clear everything that might be a tobacco reminder from the house: ashtray, lighter, etc.;
  • compliment them on the nice scent that is replacing the previous cold tobacco smell;
  • make sure everyone abides by the prohibition to smoke inside the house;
  • ask their close friends to help them hold on when outside the house;
  • encourage them with small rewards every time a new goal is achieved (for example, after the first week without tobacco);
  • help them find something that replaces the cigarettes’ ritual (at the end of the meal, during the break, during outings with friends, at the coffee shop, etc.).

You can be creative when supporting their courage! We offer means to help.


Apps to motivate and help to quit.

What if I smoke?

Not easy, that’s true. It is not a good example and you know it. But parents can have an impact also by what they say about the cigarette, or about second-hand smoking. Maybe you were trapped by the cigarette. And you must warn your teenager against that danger.

You can start by telling the truth. Explain to them how you started smoking.

The important thing is to explain to them that all tobacco products are a trap. It’s the trap set by large shameless tobacco multinational companies. They get a lot of people who later regret it immensely.

Apply what you preach: do not smoke in the house or in the car. Be very careful with second-hand smoking. You can even take the opportunity of this discussion with your teenager to decide to quit.