What to Do If You Feel Pressured to Smoke

It can seem quite daunting when some of your mates start smoking – especially if they are trying to get you to start too. We've got some tips on how you can tell your friends 'no' if you choose not to smoke.

How to say no

Have some responses ready just in case. You could try:

  • “No, they are so bad for you, I'd rather not”
  • “Nah, I'm wanting to get better at football/netball/basketball this year, smoking is just going to make me out of breath”
  • “I'd rather not have my clothes stinking of cigarettes”
  • “I've got my eye on someone... don't wanna kiss them with horrible ash tray breath!”

It should be something true - if you don't actually play football your friends will have a hard time believing you!

I don't think my mates will believe me – how can I be more assertive?

  • Practice what you are going to say, or write it down before. Just don't bring your notes out when your friends ask you if you want a cigarette!
  • Be calm and confident and speak politely and clearly.
  • Make sure you make eye contact. Not looking at them will make them think you are lying.

Remember: it's okay, and sensible, to say no. Smoking is really bad for your body, and even being near people who are smoking can increase your risk of lung cancer. Real friends won’t pressure you too much into doing something you don’t want to do. Just be firm, don’t make a big deal of it, and don’t let yourself be persuaded otherwise

Your friends will most likely respect you more for saying how you feel and sticking to your beliefs.

Don't worry what others think

Your opinion of yourself is the only one that matters – the vast majority of people are too busy worrying about what others think of them to be judging anyone else. Stick to what you believe in, and you’ll feel better about yourself.

Helping your friends

If you're confident enough to say that you don’t want to smoke, it might actually help other friends in your group who also didn’t want to either, but weren’t brave enough to say.

Want more info? Check out all our information from Choices for Life about smoking.

Why not watch how Liam dealt with peer pressure to smoke?