Reading Time: 7 mins
Suitable for: Families of secondary-age children
Read the primary-aged version of this Quick Read.
Many teens may experiment with smoking by trying a few cigarettes or a vape. Lots of them will stop after a bit of experimenting. Unfortunately, many others will become regular smokers.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) found that most adult smokers have had their first cigarette by the age of 18 and 90% of lifetime smoking in the UK starts between the ages of 10 and 20 years. The NHS also says that those who smoke in childhood are more likely to continue smoking into adulthood.
Vaping using an e-cigarette is a great way to stop smoking, but an increasing number of teenagers are starting smoking with vapes rather than using them as a way to quit. While vapes are much safer than cigarettes, they still contain harmful chemicals and create an addiction to nicotine that could make it more likely that your child starts smoking cigarettes in the future.
What are the risks of smoking?
Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK. Smoking can increase the risk of developing over 50 serious health conditions and some can cause irreversible long-term damage.