Every parent worries about their kid. They spent a lot of time looking after them and all they hope is that they end up growing into responsible adults. It’s not once or twice that you’ve come across books and articles on how to raise kids, but only a few really work well, and all you’re left with is trial and error. Of course, you don’t want your son to be caught up in bad behavior like smoking because it’s the start of a very unhealthy life. However, most of the time you might not have control over this, although counseling might help in this case. When you suspect your kid is smoking, it’s essential that you be wary of the signs to prevent the serious side effects caused by smoking including cancer. Now, this is how you can tell if your son is smoking.

Physical Evidence

One clear indicator that your son is smoking is when you find a pack of cigarettes in his jacket, backpack or room. At times this location might be obvious in case they forgot to safely hide the cigarettes. However, if he is used to the habit, he might be able to hide his stash so carefully that the chances of you finding them are minimal.

Additionally, if you find lighters, matches, rolling papers, or other smoking equipment in some secretive areas it might be a clue of your son being a smoker. A full ashtray, cigarette butts, a smoke-scented car or burn marks on clothing could also be a sign of smoking.

Behavioral Changes

If your son makes up stories about him taking a walk or going for evening runs and you’ve never seen him do this before, it could be a sign that he is smoking. It’s also likely that if you send them to grocery stores they may try to hide receipts if they purchased cigarettes and it was included in the list. And immediately he gets home he might be in a hurry to shower, change clothes or brush teeth before getting close to any family member. He might also adopt other ways of obtaining nicotine like the use of cape pens and e-cigarettes in an attempt to hide his addiction.

Physical Appearance

Your son’s appearance and scent related clues may suggest that he is smoking. The most noticeable sign is the smell of smoke on hair, clothes, breath or even on skin. But he might try hiding it with excessive use of breath mint, cologne or perfume, gum or mouthwash. His teeth might begin to have brownish black stains on the inside and yellowish stains on the outer side. Also, if he has been smoking for a while, longer than two years, you might start to see some premature wrinkling of the skin, especially near lips, eyes, ears, and neck. But this doesn’t happen to everyone as changes in physical appearance may differ from one person to another.

Addiction Signs

Cigarette has nicotine which is very addictive and for regular smokers, they might experience some cravings making them smoke in the middle of the night or very early in the morning. Withdrawal symptoms are other signs you need to note and they include irritability, anger, depressed mood anxiety, cravings, restlessness and difficulty concentrating especially if he has never shown such symptoms before.

Ways to Prevent Your Son from Smoking

Before it gets to that point where your son begins smoking, you’re obligated as a parent to talk to your child. Here is what you should do:

  • Ensure you talk to your child about the dangers of smoking especially if you live in an area with multiple smokers. And if you know of any relative or family member who died because of smoking it’s important you let him know.
  • Encourage him to join activities that prohibit smoking including sports.
  • Listen to his opinion on what he finds appealing and not appealing about smoking.
  • Come up with ways of responding to peer pressure about smoking.
  • In case you’re a smoker, let the child know that you made a mistake by starting and will try to quit.


Telling whether your son is a smoker can at times be difficult but with the right clues, you can be able to tell. Smoking is an unhealthy behavior that can lead to different health issues. If you see these signs and suspect that your son is smoking, try not to overreact. Aim at communicating with him and discuss the reasons why smoking is never a good choice. Tell him the benefits of being smoke-free such as athletic fitness, better appearance and freedom from addiction. You can also let him know that you’re going to help him quit smoking. For example, you could both visit a doctor and be advised on the best treatment plan. Also, when he confides in you about his smoking, try to be understanding to avoid triggering his anger before he gets the treatment he deserves.

All images by Pixabay


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