How can I talk to my child about tobacco?

If you don't talk to me about tobacco...

 I could start using it by my 10th birthday.


I smoke, so how can I talk to my child about tobacco?

Parents who smoke can help their children to be tobacco-free.

Talking about tobacco works

Research has shown that when parents who smoke talk to their children about it, their children are much less likely to smoke.

Children often do not understand that using tobacco is a powerful addiction and that it is very hard to quit. Chances are, you have tried to quit before. Tell your child how you got hooked on tobacco and how hard it is to quit. Tell them how much it costs and how it affects your health and how you look.

If you are thinking about quitting, we can help. For more information and support, call AlbertaQuits at 1-866-710-QUIT (7848).

What’s in a cigarette?

No matter what their age, don’t assume your child already knows the dangers of tobacco. Talk about what tobacco products contain.

Don’t be fooled by tobacco in disguise.

Tobacco is harmful no matter how it is used. Cigarettes are not the only way young people use tobacco. All of these products can have nicotine in them, even when the label says they don't. They can also have the same harmful chemicals that cigarettes do. Talk to your child about the importance of not using any type of tobacco.


When To Bring It Up

Plan to talk about tobacco many times throughout your child’s developing years.  Whenever you have time together, you can talk about tobacco.  It doesn’t have to be formal.  Some of the best times to talk might be when you are in the car, during meals, before bedtime, or during a walk.

Know What Matters to Your Child

Talk to your child about how using tobacco coold affect things that are important to them. Use the list below to make your conversation personal.

  • Looking attractive: People who use tobacco have yellow teeth, more wrinkles and bad breath.
  • Grades in school: Younger people who use tobacco have lower grades in school.
  • Playing sports: People who use tobacco have trouble breathing and slower reflexes.
  • Being healthy: Young people who use tobacco have more health problems.
  • Making own decisions: Tobacco companies go after young people to get them addicted for life.

Listen to what your child has to say about using tobacco.  Ask about the pressures they may be facing or how tobacco use in portrayed in the movies and on television.  Talk about what they could do if they were offered tobacco.  Let your child know they can tell you what is really happening and that you can help.  If you find out your child is using tobacco, don’t panic.  You are not alone, we can help.  Call AlberaQuits at 1-866-710-QUIT (7848) or visit

Keep Talking!  The pressures on a child to try tobacco continue from youth to adulthood.  Your first conversations shouldn’t be your last.

The best way to protect your family is to make your home and car tobacco-free.

Work together as a family to make a plan.

  • Talk about the good things about a tobacco-free home and car.
  • Give everyone a chance to speak.
  • Plan for guests who may want to smoke.
  • Set up an area outside away from doors and windows for smokers to use.
  • Remove all ashtrays from inside your home and clean out the one in your car.
  • Hang signs to welcome guests to your smoke-free home and vehicle.

Celebrate your success as a family.  It may take some time for everyone to adjust and small setbacks may occur.