How to Tell if Your Teenager is Smoking

While you may think your teenager is not the kind to take up smoking tobacco, it is not all that uncommon in high school. According to the CDC more than 18 percent of high school students smoke at least one cigarette in a month. Finding out whether your teenager is smoking or not is important in order to make a timely intervention and educating him/her about its harmful effects. If you are able to identify the signs of smoking early on, you may well be able to prevent a life-long tobacco addition in your child.


  • 1

    One of the easiest things to do is to smell your teen’s clothes when they come in for laundry. Certain fabrics take strongly to the smell of tobacco smoke and it is fairly hard to get it out. This is especially true in winters when sweaters and jackets are in use. If you smell cigarette smoke on your teen’s clothing, you can calmly ask him/her about it but the most likely response you will get is that they were hanging around other smokers. However, this should serve as the first sign for you to keep a strict eye on your teen.

  • 2

    Regardless of whether your teen is smoking or not, you should try and get to know more of your teen’s friends and keep a check on his/her company. Teenagers who have three or more smoking friends are much more likely to engage in smoking themselves as compared to kids who have non-smoking friends. If your teen has several friends who smoke you should talk to him/her about them and how negative influences are to be avoided.

  • 3

    Don’t hesitate in checking your teenager’s bag and going through his/her stuff. One of the most common signs of smoking is having a lighter. Most schools ban students from having lighters and if you find it, you are actually saving your teen from possible trouble and suspension.

  • 4

    If you give your teen a weekly allowance, you should monitor his/her spending to identify signs of smoking. Teens who smoke are very likely to spend their money on breath mints, gums and perfumes in order to mask the smell of cigarette smoke. Moreover, smoking itself can be a costly habit, so if your teen is usually out of money despite a handsome allowance or a part-time job, you should be concerned.

  • 5

    Smoking also has visible physical side-effects which can be identified with observation. Darkening of the lips, coughing fits, mucus spitting and yellow stained teeth are the most common effects of tobacco smoking. If you notice any of these, talk to your teen about his/her habits and how they are affecting his/her health.

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