Under-18s guide to quitting smoking

The younger you start smoking, the more damage your body will suffer when you get older. Here are seven reasons to quit and eight ways to help you do it.

Want to quit smoking?

Contact your local NHS stop-smoking services or call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044 (7am to 11pm)

  1. You'll be healthier and less out of breath because smoking decreases your lung capacity.
  2. You'll save yourself a lot of money. The average smoker spends an astonishing £27.54 a week and £90,000 over their lifetime on cigarettes. Use this tool to work out how much money you will save by stopping smoking.
  3. You'll look better. Chemicals in cigarettes restrict blood flow to your skin. Smokers have more wrinkled and saggy faces by the time they're in their mid-20s.
  4. Quitting helps save the planet. Deforestation due to tobacco production accounts for nearly 5% of overall deforestation in the developing world.
  5. Someone who starts smoking at 15 is three times more likely to die from cancer than someone who starts smoking in their mid-20s. Read more about the dangers of teen smoking.
  6. The younger you start smoking, the more damage there will be to your body as an adult. 
  7. Not smoking will make you instantly more attractive. Most people prefer kissing non-smokers.

Eight ways to get through quitting

For most people, the first days after quitting are the hardest

OK, enough of the arm twisting. You want to give up, so where do you start?

  1. Make a deal with good friends to quit. You may find that they want to quit as well.
  2. It's very hard to give up by willpower alone. Get all the help you can find: using stop smoking medicines can really increase your chances success. As these are available on prescription, they will be free for 12- to 18-year-olds. Ask your GP for help stopping smoking. They won't be shocked that you're a smoker.
  3. Smokers often hate other people quitting, so be prepared for a few put-downs. It's a good idea to have something ready to say when you’re offered a cigarette. Here are a few reasons (but we're sure you can think of better ones): 
    "Smoking costs me £xxx a year. I'm giving up so I can buy myself a new phone/driving lessons/a holiday."
    "I can't smoke in my new weekend job so I want to give up."
    "My boyfriend/girlfriend doesn't like kissing a smoker." It's true: two-thirds of teenagers say smoking reduces sexual attractiveness.
    "I'm taking my sport seriously and I need to give up if I want to be an athlete."
  4. Prepare for a tough first few days as these can be the hardest to cope with. Most of your withdrawal symptoms should subside after the first four weeks and using a combination of nicotine-containing medicines is a good way to cope with cravings. 
  5. Worried about weight gain while you're quitting? Load up with low-calorie snacks, such as apple chips, carrot sticks, sugar-free mints or popcorn, to get you through the cravings. Read more about how you can quit smoking without putting on weight.
  6. Ask friends and family to support you. Ask help from those people who will be on your side. Choose people who you can be honest with and who will be honest with you. Sometimes you need a bit of tough love as much as a cuddle or a shoulder to cry on.
  7. Do your best to stay away from alcohol, coffee, sugar and sweets. Studies have shown that these (especially alcohol) can stimulate cigarette cravings. Here's some advice on how to cut down on your drinking.
  8. And remember, it takes about a month for the nicotine cravings to subside. Take it one day at a time and soon you'll be smokefree for the rest of your life.

Page last reviewed: 16/01/2016

Next review due: 16/01/2018


How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 130 ratings

All ratings

81  ratings
12  ratings
10  ratings
6  ratings
21  ratings

Add your rating

Find stop smoking services near you

Join in with Stoptober!

Get the support to help you stop smoking and join the thousands quitting for 28 days

Teen girls 15-18

Read about teen girl health issues, including healthy eating, skin problems and having sex for the first time

Teen boys 15-18

Turning into a couch potato? Want the truth about drugs and safer sex? Find out how you can get yourself sorted

Stop smoking

Help with quitting, including what your GP can do, local services and nicotine replacement therapies