Welcome to the parents section of "smoke's no joke". We aim to arm you with all the information you need to tackle family smoking issues.

Talking about smoking

“I think my son may have started smoking, but I don't want to confront him. What's the best way to talk to him about it?”

Choose the time and place that you talk to him, ensure that the atmosphere is relaxed, make it a discussion not a confrontation. Listen to what he has to say.

Let him know that you care and that you would prefer it if he didn't smoke, BUT you understand the pressures on him.

Try and establish how strong the 'pressure' is on him to smoke. There's a fine line between peer pressure and bullying with bullying being the most important issue you need to tackle.

Talk about it

Ask him what appeals to him about smoking?

He is likely to say everyone does it at school... actually fewer than 1 in 4 of the population as a whole smoke and in Hull between 3% and 8% of 15-year-old boys smoke.

When smokers attending four Hull secondary schools were asked in 2010 for reasons why they smoked, 90% quoted 'because my friends do', and 82% quoted 'because it looks good'. But when we asked the entire sample group of students which also included the non-smoking majority, only 16% thought it was normal for people of their age group to smoke, only 4% agreed that smoking looked good, far closer to the national norms.

Help him to come up with ways of saying no to a cigarette that will not make him look silly but get the message across, what he says will depend on the personality of your son and his peers, but could be “na it's a mugs game” “you're joking that stuff kills” “no if the coach smells that I'll be off the team”.

Highlight what smoking is doing to him; wasting his money, making his breath and clothes smell, damaging his health, and getting him addicted to nicotine.

Use this site to help make your point further with information, interactive areas and graphic pictures.

Try to find out how many he smokes, and where he gets the cigarettes.

If you smoke yourself, obviously the best thing you can do is quit, better still, quit together. Talk to him about your smoking habit and how you wish you hadn't started and why. Try not to smoke in front of him, or in stressful situations. Never leave cigarettes lying around.

Encourage him to give up, does he need help to quit? If he has only just started smoking, he can quit relatively easily. The sooner he stops smoking, the easier it will be to give up. Call 01482 247 111 to speak to the local NHS Stop Smoking Service for young people.

If you take an interest, he is far more likely to talk to you and listen, YOU can influence his decision. Research shows that young people are 7 times less likely to smoke if they think that their parents disapprove strongly, even if the parent is a smoker.

Once you've opened up a channel of communication, keep it open, ask them how they are doing, what they are thinking and if they need you to do anything.

Don't give up. It may take repeated attempts to get him to open up about this or to keep the conversation going long enough to actually have a 'discussion'.

The Smoke's No Joke site includes videos demonstrating positive (and less constructive) ways to approach talking to your son about smoking - you'll find them in the video section under communication.

For more information please also refer to the Communication videos

For more information please also refer to the Peer pressure section

For more information please also refer to the Parents Q&A section

For more information please also refer to the Young people and smoking section

Created by Bespoke Software Developers StyleTech Solutions Limited for the people of Hull.