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To Sam

Drugs and smoking

At my new secondary school, lots of people smoke. The problem is that most of them are in my year and i am in the first year. Everywhere i go, i smell the smoke. I hate it. What should i do?
Ask Sam



Thanks for your letter.

It sounds like you feel quite shocked that so many people in your year are smoking. I can hear that it could be difficult for you to be one of the few who are not smoking. Perhaps you could think about talking to some other non smokers about whether they are having similar feelings.

I think you are right to want to stay away from smoking. You probably already realise that smoking is very bad for your health. It can cause lots of different illnesses, stain your teeth and skin and make your breath smell. There is also a chemical (nicotine) in cigarettes that makes it addictive, which means it can be really hard to stop once you’ve started.

There are lots of different reasons why people might start smoking, even if they know it will damage their health. You could read a bit more about these reasons on the Smoking page in Explore. You’ve done really well to stick to your decision that smoking is not for you.

I can see that you hate being able to smell the smoke wherever you go. It’s actually illegal to smoke inside or in an “enclosed area” when you’re at a public place like a school. Breathing in other people’s smoke can still harm your health, even if you are not smoking yourself. The government thinks everyone should have the right to breathe clean air that doesn’t have smoke in it. A lot of schools will also have a complete ban on smoking anywhere in the school grounds. Perhaps you could think about whether you want to talk to a teacher about smelling smoke in school? You could get together with some other non-smokers and talk to the teacher together if that feel easier? You could even post a message on our message boards to see what other people think about your situation.

If you wanted to talk any of this through with a ChildLine counsellor you’d be very welcome to. You can call them on 0800 1111, or log on for a 1-2-1 chat.

Take care,


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