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To Sam

smoking at the age of 12

hello my name is M and i was wondering about smoking becuase i know allot of people who smoke and when i am around them they try and force me to smoke i have tried it once and i told them that i would never do it again but they keep on threatning to beat me up and stuff and i dont know what to do or  who to tell so i thought i would come and talk to you so please can you help me thank you xx
Ask Sam


Hello M,

Thank you for your message, you have been really brave to write to me and tell me a bit about how things are for you at the moment.

You said you’ve tried smoking once but that you never want to try it again. I think that is a really good decision and you have been really brave to stand up to your friends. People might start smoking for lots of different reasons, including trying to fit in with friends or because they want to know what it’s like. Once you start smoking regularly, it can be really hard to stop. Smoking is bad for your health in lots of different ways, so I’d always suggest staying away from smoking in the first place. There’s more information about smoking in Explore which you might find interesting.

I can hear that you know a lot of people who smoke and they try to force you to smoke. No one has the right to try to force you to do anything that you don’t want to do. I am really concerned to hear that they threaten to beat you up if you do not smoke - this is a form of bullying. (For more information on bullying you can look in Explore or there is a helpful website called bully busters.)

I imagine it might be really scary and upsetting when people are putting so much pressure on you. It might be helpful to plan some ways in which you can look after yourself in these situations. If you ever feel scared or threatened by people, it’s important to stay safe and walk away from them or ask for help from an adult nearby.

People may not always realise the impact that peer pressure and bullying can have on someone. No one has the right to treat you like this and you don’t have to go through this on your own. What would it be like to try to get some support from someone you know like a family member or teacher that you like in school? You could also talk to a ChildLine counsellor about the situation you are in. Childline has a free helpline on 0800 11 11 which will not appear on a phone bill or you can go online for a 1-2-1 chat which is a bit like instant messenger.

Childline also has message boards, where young people who are going through similar situations can support one and other. You might like to look at the threads about smoking or you could start a new thread yourself.

Well done for writing to me,

Take care.


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