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My kid started smoking

I am a divorced mother and I live alone with my daughter. The last months I have noticed that I missed cigarettes from my pack. Before 2 days I saw my 11 years old daughter sneaked cigarettes from my pack.
I was about at her age when I started too. I am thinking to tell her that I know it .What do you advice me to do? I am confused!!

Age doesn't matter.

If it is unlawful in your area for your 11 year old daughter to be smoking, there is only one thing to do, and that is to talk to her and make her stop. If it isn't unlawful in your area, then talk to her, find out if she is taking cigarettes from your pack. If so, then you have to decide if she it mature enough to smoke or not.


reply to My kid started smoking

If she is like me, she will never stop---My mom would've let me smoke if she caught me at 11. My mom smoked and knew how hard it was to quit and how she enjoyed them so much. If I catch my 9 year old son smoking soon, I'll let him--with rules, because I loved cigarettes since that first one and I wasn't about to quit, even if I got caught. Let her smoke when no one is around and let her take quick drags off of your cigarettes when there are people around(in other rooms). Tell her if she gets caught, it's her problem and you don't know anything. That's how I am going to go about it. READ MY STORY! lol Cigarettes were callling me! They were badly. I hated smoking before age 10. At 10, I got interested in it. I tried it for the first time, at age 11, because for a year I was having dreams about lighting up in the bathroom, and everytime I got the chance to do it, someone interrupted me(in my dreams). After 40 years, I still dream about hitting cigarettes with multiple hits on one drag and wake up. After school at 3pm, grade 6, I got home with nobody home, I grabbed a book of matches and smoked my first one! Finally I made it a reality. I hung on to the matches in case I needed them again, and boy I did! Well, as it went along, after dinner that night, my mom was washing dishes, and I wanted to smoke again. I stole two out of her purse. I went outside and hid in the bushes and smoked my second one. Later that night I snuck outside after everyone went to bed and smoked my third. I was a smoker now. I never quit stealing them from my mom for a long time. My mom's friend smoked Salem 100s. They looked very good to me being long and white. We were visiting her one night(many months after I started smoking), and there were seven of them on her floor in the TV room where I was, under the end table. I told them I was cold and got my jacket and put them in my pocket. I loved them! Everytime I got 50 cents in my hand, I only thought of buying cigarettes! I was happy as long as I had cigarettes. When I didn't have enough money, I continued to steal from my mom and take hits off of her unattended cigarettes left in the ashtray. Stealing them was great, but it was more fun to hit off hers in the ashtray after she lit it and left the room! My mom smoked Winston 100s, VS 100s menthol, Saratogas 100s, Benson and Hedges menthol 100s, Silva Thins 100s, Salem 100s, Salem lights 100s, and others, so I had a chance to sample lots of cigarettes. I didn't like lights because they didn't fill me up enough. It really didn't matter so much, because beggars can't be choosers. When I turned 17, she found out I was smoking when she caught me in the kitchen, dragging her cigarette. Instead of taking one drag, I took more than one many times, and this time she walked in on me. She chuckled and asked me "What are you doing, you like it? I said, yeah. Next question was how long have you been smoking? I told her 6 years now. She asked me how I started. I told her. She didn't tell anyone. My brothers were all anti, and my dad would've gotten mad. She told me that she wondered why her cigarettes disappeared so quick out of her packs over the years. She accepted it and let me smoke, and when she started bumming them off of me when she was out, that was good. When no one was home I was able to smoke in front of her and besides, I was almost 18. If she caught me in the early days of smoking she would've done the same thing---let me smoke. She smoked and knew how it was to quit. If my kid starts smoking soon, I'll let him because I know how it is to smoke and how I love it so much. He is 9 now. I will know what to look for, if I suspect him of smoking, because I did it all to avoid getting caught. It sure was a lot of fun sneaking cigarettes all the time. The only drawback was all the wuthdrawals symptoms I went through from age 11-17 when the family went away for the weekends. I never thought about that when I smoked my first one. I only worried about smoking my first. I remember all this because it was a big time in my life.

Thanks for bringing back

Thanks for bringing back some great memories. What you wrote really reminds me of the feeling I had, my first time smoking, and all the great times I jumped out my bedroom window to have a cigarette with a friend, dead of night, when I was 13-14. Those were the days. The times I was caught by my parents were always full of stress - but I was lucky enough to usually get caught smelling like smoke with a girl around, so my parents would chalk it up to "well he's probably going to have some fun with her," and let me off easy. Anyway it's great to read a long, in-depth response like what you wrote.

FOR the record, if I had a kid who was smoking, I'd do the same thing -- make it damn hard on them -- but only because having it be forbidden will make them appreciate the freedom more later on.
Coffee and a pack of Gauloises, please.

I really don't know what the law is

I've heard that it is unlawful to buy cigarettes under 18 years old. But if someone over 18 years old buys cigarette. Then you can smoke @ any age. I do not know what is right!

It all depends on where you

It all depends on where you live. Some places only restrict at point of purchase, others restrict just on the age of the individual. Know you local laws.


18 to buy

Yea to my knowledge, in the US, most places say you have to be 18 or 19 (parts of New York (long island) and Jersey) to buy. However there is no age when you aren't allowed to smoke them. Most kids in High School who aren't old enough to buy smoke visibly all the time. I mean I do think 11 is a bit young, especially since that's before the rebellious stage but then again its the loyalty want to be like mom stage so i can see how that happens.

reply to My kid started smoking

I used to nag my mom to stop smoking before I started smoking at age 11. I am surprised she didn't suspect anything after I started smoking, because I stopped nagging her. I wasn't about to cut off my supply of cigarettes. If my mom caught me, I would've begged her to let me smoke, if she didn't let me, who cared? I would've just bought my own cigs back then(1973). I was buying cigarettes for my parents at age 8 all the time, and then for myself at age 12(when I had money for them). I think they wanted me to smoke. I smoked Salem 100s for 22 years, Newport Men 100s for 2, now I enjoy Marlboro Menthol 100s for the last 16 years.
I forgot to add this to my story. Good luck, but if she is like me, she will still steal them from you and smoke. I would if I was her, because it is very hard to quit, even after my first one, I wanted more, and that turned into 40 years now. What am I going to do if my son smokes? I can't yell at him. I was 11 when I started enjoying cigarettes, I had no intentions of quitting, so if I can't practice what I preach, I'll let him smoke by giving him cigarettes and taking drags of of mine. I will not be a hypocrite. I would rather he smokes and is happy(like it made me by smoking at that age), than to show him how to be a hypocrite. I hope this helps you...bye

reply to My kid started smoking

This may be a good thing also. If you let her smoke under your rules, this will teach her to be respectful, responsible and not a whiny, brat that gets everything they want. I went through that stuff with my step-daughter. She didn't smoke, but started having sex at age 14 and kept doing it. She was disrespectful, irresponsible, etc. I would've traded that if she smoked and was the opposite! You can use this to your advantage. If she doesn't follow the rules to behave, clean her room, help you with housework and respect you or drive you crazy, tell her you'll cut her off and won't give her any cigarettes---and she won't want that to happen. I know I wouldn't. When I was 11, I got by on looking forward to my appx 2-3 cigarettes a day. I respected my mom and dad(except for stealing my moms cigarettes LMAO), and was responsible.
As long as I had a cigarette to look forward to, that made me very happy. That was the main thing I was concerned about that young---smoking. Don't say anything!!! Next time she sneaks out for a cigarette, sneak out yourself and catch her in the act. Then talk about it. I hope this helps. So she smokes at age 11. I did, it's not the end of the world. Better her smoking in front of you than in her room and burning the house down.

reply to My kid started smoking

Also, tell her it's our own little secret and she can't tell anybody, otherwise the deal is off. Heck, I am sure she is going to smoke anyway. You know how it is since you started at age 11 also. Put yourself in her place at this moment. If that was you smoking and your mom found out at age 11, wouldn't you want your mom to let you smoke in private? If your mom told you you couldn't smoke, you would've continued to smoke also, right? It's not like having a snack. I have never been addicted to anything I need to have so badly and love so much as smoking cigarettes. You said for months now she has been smoking, so she is probably addicted to them and can't stop, just like all of us.

Your a Parent act like a parent!!!

Your a parent act like a parent!!! You wouldn't let her drive a car before it was time for her to drive a car, would you? This is an easy problem to solve. Put your cigarettes some place that locks. And you guard the key.

re: Your a Parent act like a parent!!!

I absolutely would. I believe children are much more mature then people give them credit for. I think age is simply a number. People drink and drive and they are of legal age. To me that shows poor decision making skills. Yet, if they don't get caught by a law enforcing official, they continue to drive. But my kids make very mature decisions and If they wanted to drive, I would gladly let them.

not very good thought process

and if they get pulled over driving under age there are just as bad consequences. whether laws are something we agree with or not, they have to be obeyed unless they are outright unjust. they may not be to our liking, but that doesn't mean they are wrong. they are there for a reason. personally i think the drinking age should be like it is in europe, i think when you are 70 you should have to renew your drivers license. there should be a .00 alcohol tolerance etc... I am only 20 and these are things i've recently been accustomed to, every decision i make revolves around the future consequence of that decision..In conclusion: If your kids are mature decision makers then they wouldn't drive underage even if you let them because they'd know its a bad decision

That's too young

I'm a parent and although I smoke,I think 11 is too young for your daughter to be smoking.I think she needs to stop stealing cigarettes from you and you need to intervene and make her quit and that's my recommendation.I'm not saying she should never smoke,but realistically I think someone should be in the last two years of high school before they are old enough and are mature enough to make the decision to smoke because it is an adult habit,it's a personal choice to smoke and because of the health consequences,she needs to be the proper age to realize the true nature of smoking and weigh the pros and cons of it.


if your daughter is already addicted stopping her will only put her through the pain of withdrawal. Okay 11 is a bit young but if your daughter wants to smoke then let her if you can afford to support her habit as well as your own. Perhaps even welcome her to the smoking family by getting her a nice lighter.


Yes! I started at age 11, 1973, and had withdrawals a lot. The worst withdrawals were going away with the family for a 2-3 day weekend. Being that young, age 11, to visit relatives, made me decide not to bring cigarettes with me. Also, I didn't want to have my mom or dad find cigarettes in my pocket in the Winter. In the Summer, I had no place to hide them. And what a mistake I made the first 2-3 years. The Summer of 1976 the family went away for 3 days, with my other relatives, to visit more relatives, I was 14 and didn't bring them with me. At the time, I had been smoking about 6 a day, all of my cousins didn't smoke, and for me to smoke in front of them, and having them tell everyone later that I smoked, was not an option. My dad would've killed me. I am sure my mom would've let me smoke, even though I still didn't want to get caught. Anyways, the withdrawals were unbearable, and I suffered badly the second night that I never went anywhere again without them. I couldn't even steal one from my two aunts, dad or mom because no one left them in the kitchen while they talked in the living room. While the kids and I hung out doing nothing(in the house), I kept checking the kitchen for cigs by going for water. If I found one I would've been out that back door in a flash. She is going to smoke again, so let her enjoy her cigarettes like I did at her age. If I didn't go through withdrawals, I wouldn't understand that girls miserable future of withdrawals. Back then, I was buying cigs for my parents and me, so my mom was going to make me quit? LMAO Aaaaaaaaaah, the good old days. I would've continued to smoke. If I got grounded, I would've smoked in the woods, before and after school. I would've begged my mom to let me hit hers.

my kid started smoking

Hi,i have been a smoker now for 35 yrs and i think that you should keep it between yourselves,but teach her the pleasures of smoking,because has we all know once you become addicted not easy to quit,so teach her how to enjoy them to the full like we all do ie taking it down and enjoying the rush you get everytime you have one,and sure she will be your best friend,just let us know how she gets on if you teach her.


I'm a non smoker and I

I'm a non smoker and I would say since she has already started and obviously likes it let her continue. Since you live alone restrict her to smoking at home or in private till she is a little older. It might be good for your relationship with her, I time for you to talk well you enjoy a smoke together. Good Luck :-)

reply to I'm a non smoker and I

Exactly! If she is like me, she will never stop. I started at age 11 and loved it. Only difference is I didn't get caught. If my mom caught me and didn't want me to smoke, I would've anyway. I was addicted to them and already smoking. She wasn't going to stop me from doing it. Back then at age 8, I was buying cigarettes for my parents and myself after I started smoking. If I didn't smoke at age 11, or never smoked, I wouldn't know how hard it was to quit or how enjoyable it is to smoke, so I may have a different outlook on this matter.

It is against the law for anyone under 18 y/o to smoke.

I think you should make her stop. Till she is 18 years old. Not that I'm against anyone smoking. I wish more people would take up the habit!!! But because it's against the law. A parent can pay a heavy fine if their children break the law. Myself I'm all for letting her smoke!!!

against the law?

I don't know where you live,but in the US It is only against the law to sell ciigs. To minors not to posess or to smoke them.

Both incorrect.

From what I know, federal law restricts tobacco products at point-of-purchase only to adults 18 years and older. However, individual states have their own additional limitations about the legality of possession, use, etc.

For example: when I was a teen in KY, the legal age to purchase tobacco products was 16. It's now 18, and possession of tobacco products is a secondary offense. If a cop pulls over a 17-year-old for speeding, and said teen has a pack of cigarettes/can of smokeless on the dash, the police officer (if he/she chooses) can seize the item AND tack on an additional fine of $150.

While that is the law in KY, it's not always enforced to the full measure, mainly because of the state's history with tobacco production/acceptance as part of culture. Only a handful of counties have indoor smoking bans, and most of those are in urban/suburban county-wide areas.

Regardless, it's important to know the laws for your state. Personally, I think age 11 is far too young for a kid to start smoking, mainly because of physical complications (particularly physical growth) that smoking can stunt. Also, no matter how mature an 11-year old seems, chances are pretty good that he/she has NOT made any sort of informed choice about health risks. At that age (and for some, even up into the upper teens and 20's) the only thoughts tend to be "it feels good" ,"it looks cool," and "my friends do, too."

As a parent, I'd want to know how she got started. Does she have other friends that have taken up smoking? I would honestly start talking to her friends' parents, without issuing blame, and trying to figure out, as a group, ways to make the kids truly consider what they are doing, even if it's too late to get them to stop.

Federal Law?

I am not aware of ANY 'federal law' that restricts sale, possession, or usage by age. It would be a part of the United States Code (USC), and I just can't find anything anywhere. Am I missing something?

Each state makes its own rules about this. While almost every state has some sort of provision regarding sale and/or possession, surprisingly the law in most states is silent on 'usage'. A few states (such as Oregon) even make specific allowances for underage use with parental consent.

So the notion that 'you have to be 18 to legally smoke' is generally a little off-base.


While I've heard of a few local (municipal) proposals regarding usage age, I'm unaware of any of them actually becoming law.

keep on smoking


She will continue to smoke now that she has tried it, just welcome her as a new smoker, there is nothing that you can do about it.

Thoughts from the non smoker

Exactly as I said earlier you are going have a closer relationship of you buy her cigs and smoke together. We all know it is difficult being a single parent

I disaree with you!!!

When an adult can't control a child. There is something wrong!!! Just control where she goes. Who she hangs out with. If your a smoker then keep your own cigarettes under lock & key. No store is going to sell cigarette to you till your 18 years old. So you CAN control the problem!!!

I am surprised at some of

I am surprised at some of the comments. An 11 year old girl is too young to smoke. It's not big and it's not clever to encourage such young kids to smoke. The decision to smoke should only be made when someone is old enough to appreciate the health and economic costs of smoking. At 11 it is extremely unlikely that a kid is capapable of appreciating either. This site is aimed at adults who enjoy smoking. Let's keep it that way. Encouraging such young kids to smoke would justifiably give this otherwise excellent site a very bad name.

reply to I am surprised at some of

We aren't encouraging her to smoke. She already started, and since she is addicted like I was at her age she'll find a way to smoke even if it's looking in the streets or parking lots of store/gas stations for discarded cigarettes while riding her bike around. She already knows how great smoking is when you are addicted and how it makes her feel when she smokes. She will stop at nothing to find one(and will find one easily because people waste them). Now, she can't be grounded forever, that's not good either. If she is grounded for, say two weeks, she'll have unbearable withdrawals, and when it's over she will do the above method I just mentioned. I would do the same thing if I was her. The minute after my punishment was over, I'd be smoking a discarded cigarette. She won't quit and I don't blame her, because I love to smoke also and getting in trouble for smoking at age 11 wouldn't make me stop either!!!!!!!!!!!!

jay420's picture


While the "age" thing is a factor, especially with legality, I know exactly what you are saying about "not being able to stop them anyway." Had I started when I was a teen, you wouldn't have been able to stop me either, so it's easy to sit and say that you shouldn't encourage it, but like me, you know the pleasures of smoking and if they love it that much.... that's, that.

Jay --


i agree. even though she started already by stealing them, she only did that because "like mother like daughter". its not because she's researched or thought about the smoking as her own entity. children's brains aren't developed until 13 at least. they don't have cognitive thinking skills yet, and the rest of the brain doesn't finish developing until 23+. I'm only 20 and i can tell this. Anyone who started at 11 and still does obviously will say you can't deprive her. But had they been deprived and ended up not being smokers, by the time they were finished with schooling they may look back and say "its a good thing, i was too young and didn't think about it properly to make an adequate decision".

tobytom's picture


this child smoking fetish is not fair to the child and no responsible parent would allow or encourage their child to smoke.

Sounds like a very difficult

Sounds like a very difficult situation to be in. You probably don't want to quit, but may be the only way for your daughter to stop. If you forbid her to smoke and decide to continue to smoke you will have to keep your cigs on lockdown too prevent her from sneaking any or keep an exact count at all times of how many you smoked. I think when I started sneaking cigs from my moms pack I think she new and adjusted accordingly. Hardly ever buying soft packs, hardly leaving a pack out of her eyesight, and when she did it was always in that range where it would be obvious if a I snuck one. With that said as soon as I was able to by my own I was hooked. She was able to delay the inevitable a little bit without quitting. I will admit it would have been nice to just start up when I was that age I would have liked to have smoked within rules estalished by my parents, but it didnt happen.

Best of luck.

Let her smoke

I don't have children so my opinion probably won't carry much weight with you. But, in my opinion, I think you should let her smoke. That is unless you have a moral issue with it. That being said, even if you have a problem with it and forbid her from smoking, she most likely will continue to do so. So, there really isn't much you will be able to do about it.

I wish I did not have a relentlessly anti-smoking mother. It is what has kept me in the closet about my smoking for about about 15 years. I would probably be a much happier person if I felt I could smoke in the open. Closet smokers lead a double life, which gets very tiresome and it is torturous at times. Why put her through that kind of emotional hell, by forbiding it and forcing her into the closet, if it is something she wants to do?

The legal issues, as others have pointed out, can be significant. Some states allow minors to smoke but not purchase tabacco, others it is flat out illegal for a minor to smoke. So you might want to look up your local laws, if only so you know what your ethical obligations are, here in New York State are legally allowed to smoke, but it is illegal purchase tobacco products for a minor, but it is legal for a parent to give their children tobacco products. Makes no sense, I know.

I will admit that 11 years old is on the young side, but we were all that age, and if you were a smoker at that age, you know that you probably didn't feel like you were too young at the time. Maybe you do retrospectively, but you were in her shoes at that time and know what was going through your head at that age. Besides, 11 is not so young that it is ridiculous, that is the age that a lot of people start.

So, I believe you should probably confront her. And, "confront" is a strong term, it might be best to simply inform her that you know and make it clear she isn't in trouble. If at this time, you do not mind the fact that she smokes, inform her of such, if you don't want her to, begrudgingly allow it with a lot of ground rules and hope that it simply just a phase. After all, a lot of kids lose interest in these types of things if it is no longer considered forbidden fruit.

I can't even begin to imagine how things would be different for me, if my parents had just handled things in this manner. It would have been really nice to not have been a closet smoker, like I said, leading two lives is just exhausting.

There is the other option of simply turning a blind eye to it, which might be your best bet especially if it is illegal for minor to smoke in your area. If you don't condone her smoking, then make getting at your cigarettes impossible, keep them under lock and key and make sure she won't have access to them. If you don't mind her smoking, but still want to turn the blind eye, then leave cigarettes in accesible locations so that she would have access to them and you would have plausible deniability should she get caught.

It is a tough decision for you to make, and though I don't have any children, if I ever do and one decides to smoke, I have no intention of putting him/her through the hell of being a closet smoker, even if I weren't thrilled about the notion. I am sure you will figure out the right approach to handle this difficult situation.

Good luck,

JY is right on about this

As a self oppressed closet smoker myself, I just want to say that JY's comment on this is like 100% correct. JY, you are brilliant. Seriously. If I wanted to write a really smart, really awsome reply, it would be exactly the reply you wrote. Like everything you wrote.

The comments about how closet smoking sucks are right on point. Its definitely better to let her smoke and not feel like she has to be persecuted as a smoker. If she can openly identify as a smoker early on, like by high school for sure, then she wont have problems feeling uncomfortable about it later. Or at least is less likely.

The comments about 11 not being too young to start are also right on point as well. Yes, 18 is the legal age of purchase (see further discussion below) but honestly, while I have theoritically heard of people smoking when they are 9 or 5 or whenever; when I seriously think about people my own age, the first girl I had a really bad crush on started smoking when she was in 5th grade and was 11 yrs old. Her name was Tiffany and we both lived in the same neighborhood and went to school together. She was way outta my leauge. She hung out with older boys, particulary this prick named Stuart something. But yeah, she was 11 and she started smoking, and I straight up saw her hanging out near the street corner by my house smoking a cigarette with Stuart. Also, when I was in 3rd grade, I went to the "bad girl's" house down the street, Melissa, where I wasnt supposed to go (she watched MTV, etc). She was in 5th grade, and I remember that she smoked then too. In her house and even in her room. Her mom was like never home. It was awsome. I had such a bit of crush on her too, not like Tiffany later, but still, she was older, she had dyed blonde streaks in her hair, she listened to bands like Poision and NKOTB and she smoked cigarettes in her room in 5th grade. Yea, she was awsome. Yea, smoking cigarettes at age 11 is actually a pretty normal thing for a girl to want to do.

JYs comments about the legal issues are right on point as well. Some places it may be actually illegal for someone under 18 to smoke, or "possess" cigarettes. Other places it is only illegal for someone under 18 to "buy" cigarettes. Still, other places it may be illegal to "sell" or "provide" cigarettes to someone under 18. You need to know the laws where you are and what your liabilities are.

Where I live, its only illegal to "sell" cigarettes to minors under 18 or to "buy for" for minors under 18 (ie no strawman purchases). Here its not illegal for minors themselves to actually smoke the cigarettes. Its not even technically illegal for them to possess the cigarettes, although the schools will usually confiscate them if they find them.

JY is also right on point about the prospect of "turning a blind eye" to her smoking, particularly with respect to leaving your cigarettes out in easily accessible places. +1 for that. You (the original writer) were already doing that. Who wants to keep their cigarettes under lock and key? noone. You want to keep them in your pocket, or in your purse, or where you set your wallet and keys, or where you set your cell phone, or next to your ashtray, or whereever. They are going to be out and accessable if you are going to smoke them yourself.

So just try not to worry so much about whether your 11 yr old daughter is smoking and "taking" cigarettes out of your pack. Id say shes already complying with the plan that allows you to "turn a blind eye" and it does exactly what JY suggested, and facilitates giving you "plausable deniability"

But yeah, going back to JYs point about why closet smoking sucks. Um, it just does. I mean, its totally no fun at all. I still do it, and basically have since I first "secretly" tried smoking when I was 15. I guess I was "almost" open about my smoking - to a few people - while I was in college - and not anywhere around most of the folks I knew from back home. Oppressive mothers are the worst about that stuff. If my mother had been more tolerant or chill about my smoking - that would have made my life like 1000% better. Seriously.

So, while Im not going to go as far as some (ahem) folks on this board and say that you should go buy her like 10 cartons and get her smoking like 3 packs a day by the time shes 12, because lets be serious, that'd be strange - I still say that - while being mindful of whatever laws are applicable in your areas - and while taking due consideration towards any moral qualms you may have about it - its probably best to just recognize that if shes already started taking your cigarettes and smoking on her own, then shes going to smoke whether you want her to or not; the question is just whether you are oppressing her about it or not.

My suggestion is to first keep turning the blind eye for a while. Maybe ramp up the degree to which you are leaving whole packs of cigarettes in easily accessible places. Like a carton in the freezer or cupboard. Some place she can get a pack or two and think its not noticable. (thats what I did in high school with friends of mine who had mothers who smoked. I saw an open carton out on the kitchen counter one day, and when no one was looking and out of the room I straight up stole two packs our of the carton from my friends mom. I did this like twice. it was awsome). But seriously, just try leaving packs of cigarettes around in fairly conspicious places, preferable whole cartons so that she feels emboldened enough to take a pack for herself. And let her make her own decisions.

She has already made her first decision on her own to take your cigarettes without your asking. Let her make her own decision with respect to the packs of cigarettes on this one as well.

Then after a few more months of her being able to have ready access to your cigarettes, maybe by the begining of summer, maybe by the end of the summer, then you can decide if you want to have a talk to her about it. Maybe after having ready and easy access to packs of cigarettes every day all summer and you turning the "blind eye" to her smoking - maybe by the end of all that she will just stop smoking on her own and this wont be an issue.

But if by the end of the summer she is taking more cigarettes and clearly still smoking, then maybe would be a good time to move to phase two - and have "the talk" with her - about how you "know" shes been smoking - and you're "going to be reasonable" about it - and lay down some ground rules about where she can and cannot smoke, etc. That way you are confronting the issue on it - but only after you give her time to make up her own mind if this is something that she wants to do for her self.

Thats my $0.02. I hope that JY would approve.


Thank you for the flattering

Thank you for the flattering compliment. I put a lot of thought into my response, and I am glad to see it well received by at least one person.

It is my hope that the original author found a way to deal with her situation.

As you echoed, closet smoking is awful. I do very much wish that I was not in the closet about my smoking. As I said, it is exhausting and torturous to be a closet smoker. Everytime I visit with family or friends from back home I essentially quit smoking, I find myself craving a cigarette and many times it is all I can think about. It would be so much nicer to be able to smoke and just enjoy being with the people I love or to not feel guilty because I feel like I have been lying to all of them for most of my life. I have given considerable thought to coming out to my family, but at the age of 29, I just think it would be ridiculous to do so. I really do regret not having coming much earlier in my life. Oh well, this is how things go, I suppose.

Once again, I really appreciate the compliment.


JY and JP: Great comments

Yes, I would go the "blind eye" route and leave packs (and open packs) around like in the kitchen and bathroom, etc. and have them accessible. Keep a close watch if any turn up missing. If so, I don't think you have anything to worry about. If kids are going to smoke, they'll smoke. It made our kids closer to us when they started smoking, ironically. Part of our relationship became smoking buddies.

I would also have "the talk" about how you smoke, how you started, and how much you like it, as a lead-in for her to open up. Ask if she has tried or would like to try it, and take it from there.

I started smoking at 13 and

I started smoking at 13 and I was caught by my parents at 16. They let me smoke and purchased cigarettes for me with my money. I doubt that they would have let me start earlier, but it was a relief to not have to sneak around anymore and to be able to smoke in my room at that age.

My personal thought...

.. is that 16 is a decent age to allow smoking, and no sooner. Regardless of age or legal restrictions, what really needs to happen is an adult-like conversation about smoking and the risks of addiction, and the cost of being a smoker, both economically and in terms of health risk. Most 11-year-olds aren't capable of having such a discussion, IMO.

You may not be able to stop your daughter from taking up smoking, but you shouldn't enable it at such a young age. Most likely, she's succumbed to peer pressures to smoke, which is really not a good reason to start. Keep your smokes under lock and key, let her know that you feel that she's too young to smoke (even if you started at 11, these really are different times), and monitor her friends and interactions. If she's surrounded by influences and peers at this age to become a smoker so soon, she might be tempted to try other things that you most definitely won't approve of.

For the record, I don't believe smoking is a gateway drug, necessarily, but the earlier someone starts smoking, the more likely they are to be influenced into other things, simply because the mental development isn't in place to resist things that can be enjoyable. Until you have a serious discussion about smoking, though, she might withdraw from you and be influenced by a number of factors you can't control.

Started at 14

I had my first cigarette at age 13 and quickly found that I couldn't stop. By 14 I was smoking 10 a day. My family were not impressed but after I challenged them to try and see why I couldn't stop they all began smoking themselves. Everyone in my family smokes now. My parents even started buying me cigarettes until I could afford to buy them for myself. Of course this helped as I did not have to steal them, maybe you should consider buying your daughter her cigarettes. She will not stop smoking and she will only feel bad when she has to smoke behind your back. You will see the smile on her face and the relief she will get if you greet her with a cigarette after school. Homework also gets done promptly and properly when there is the promise of a badly needed cigarette afterwards. She will also probably need a couple in the morning after not having had any nicotine during the night.
You may even get her to do some chores around the house and reward her with a pack of her favourite brand. Turn it around-she won't stop so at least get some good out of it. Let us know how it goes. I'm off for a nice smoke now !

reply to Started at 14

all the (reply to)...they are my comments. I said the same thing. She won't quit, and withdrawals are painful. I smoked at 11, if my mom caught me, I would've bought them myself in 1973. However in this day and age, I would hang out at the convienence store parking lot. lol Even nowadays if I was a kid, I'd find a way to get them. I wouldn't give up so easily and quit something I loved to do! How can I tell this girl not to smoke, and that I don't want her to smoke if she was my daughter, when I started smoking at 11 also and I wasn't able to quit either when I first started enjoying them so much? I can't be a hypocrite. My mom never caught me. If she did, I would've smoked anyway. . Like I said earlier, she should be a good, respectful, responsible teen especially if she is able to smoke. That's the main thing I loved about smoking that young. I was happy as long as I had cigarettes, and in her case, to be able to smoke, she should be eager to help out around the house. Let's face it, she'll be smoking anyhow and her mom is not going to stop it. I only smoked cigarettes, started with NO PEER PRESSURE at all. I wanted to smoke before I started, and just didn't try it to 'try it'. I wanted to smoke, and I was hooked. This did not lead to drugs.
I wouldn't encourage her to start smoking, but since she is already, let her smoke. She already planted the nicotine in her lungs.

started at 14

I think it's great having your whole family starting so they could se what it's like to not be able to quit! As for her, yeah, things will get done in order to have a badly needed cigarette. I draw the line at cigarettes. Any other bad thing she does would go punished(if it was my kid), only because I only smoked cigarettes at age 11 also and know how it is. When I started discreetly in 6th grade, 3 a day it was, right off the bat. One in the morning, after school and sometime at night, when I could sneak one, because no one knew. My parents both smoked, but my 3 brothers were anti, and didn't. They were older, much older, and worked, which made it easier for me.

I'm all for letting her smoke!!!

But I'm afraid you might have to pay a fine if the law finds out. But you do what you think is best. My parents was anti smoking. They made me quit. But I just returned to the habit. When I was older.

reply to I'm all for letting her smoke!!!

First of all, it is too young to smoke. But you see what I mean? You started again. When did you start again? Since I started at age 11 like her, I am more understanding, otherwise I probably would have a different point of view. She will smoke again. Since she started now or at 14, in 30 years it won't matter much if she started at 11 or 13 or 15, so I would let her smoke. When she is 43, and been smoking for over 30 years, a couple of years isn't going to matter so much, so I wouldn't make her suffer by quitting. The damage is done already. The only thing, is the money factor. The only thing she did, that I didn't do, was to get caught. If I got caught, I am sure my mom would've let me smoke(without dad finding out). I was going to smoke anyway, because in 1973, I was buying for myself when I had 50 cents and buying for my parents as early as eight! They wanted me to smoke and I did. lol

addition to reply to I'm all for letting her smoke!!!

Besides, when I started smoking at 11, in 6th, three cigarettes a day was good enough for a while, two years later in 8th grade I was up to about 7 a day. I would limit her smoking. I got by on around 3 or so a day for a long while, so she can probably handle that too. Before school, after school, after dinner or before bed oughta do it. In two years she can give mom her own money that she earns from babysitting to pay for her habit.

Here's a point no one has

Here's a point no one has brought up yet. Since you're divorced, do you share custody with her father? If so, how would he feel about her smoking? Even if it's legal for her to smoke, letting her do so could certainly weigh against you in family court.

reply to Here's a point no one has

Good point. Makes it more of a sticky situation.

Reply to My kid...

She has tried smoking and she won't stop now. If you forbid her to smoke she will just do it behind your back and will learn to steal-not good. Find out what brand she smokes and buy her a pack, allow her to smoke outside and reward homework or household chores with a cigarette. Soon it will be completely normal for her to light up if you allow her to and you will wonder what all the fuss was about. It's all part of growing up and being a smoker will give her a lot of confidence as well as being the ultimate stress reliever! Let her enjoy the satisfaction of relieving her cravings like you do. You will probably also enjoy having another smoker around. Let her smoke but establish ground rules-if she complies she should be allowed to smoke, she will anyway, rather your way.

Good advice

Any news on what happened?

Reply to My Kid Started

First, my background. I started at 16 and hid it for a year or two, before coming out to my parents. That was a mistake. Two things I would have done differently. First, I wish I had started earlier, since I really like it. Second, they both smoked (I grew up in a smoking family) and were very supportive, and said afterward they would have allowed me to smoke from the outset. They kind of suspected since I hung out with friends who smoked, but didn't want to confront me. So I went through needless sneaking around that was totally unnecessary, and wrong.

We now have kids that smoke, and we were supportive of that. We figured that since we smoked they were probably going to, anyway. The oldest (now early 30's) started about 12 or 13, the rest later on but we made it clear if they wanted to smoke we were OK with it. I think when our oldest was about 8 or 10 we would bring up smoking in casual conversation like "If you want to smoke when you're older, it's OK." We didn't put that first cigarette in their mouths but we had an open communication with them and when they admitted they had "tried" it and wanted to see what we thought, we were cool with it. Once the first one started, the others picked it up as time went by. No angry confrontations, groundings, or sneaking around. As a result, they are decent, well-balanced people that happen to be smokers. I have noticed over the years most of the smokers we know are very nice people.

My advice

Try and find out if she really is smoking, without her finding out. If she is, I would have a casual, matter-of-fact discussion with her talk about smoking. Sit down for a casual chat, light a cigarette and ask something along the lines of "I am a smoker, and I'm curious about what you think about smoking. Have you ever tried it?" Let her engage in the conversation and if it is confirmed, then ask if she is going to continue, with you allowing her decision either way. If she wants to continue, then set some ground rules (as previous posters have recommended). Get her her own ash tray, pack (carton), and lighter to start with. If she proves responsible, as time goes by allow more freedom to be out and about and smoke, like being able to smoke in her room, at family gatherings, with friends, etc. Make smoking part of being responsible around the house. That's how we did it with our kids. She'll probably then turn out to be a decent, respectful person in the end.

Good Luck

What a great attitude....

Wish more parents had this attitude toward their kids smoking. It would be great.

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