My friend just told me today that he started smoking, and I’m super concerned for him. I told him that he shouldn’t be doing it, but he said nothing would happen to him if he continues. I promised him that I wouldn’t tell anyone… I know that’s wrong to do, but I don’t want him to be in trouble. I just want him to stop.
I know how hard it is to watch your friend do something dangerous and feel like you have no control over the situation. You want to be able to make him stop, but in this situation, he needs to come to that decision on his own.
Promising not to tell anyone doesn’t make you a bad person. Honestly, telling his parents might even make the situation worse. A lot of teens smoke cigarettes to rebel, and feeling like everyone is against him might make your friend more determined to smoke. For now, keep it between you two and give him some time to come to a decision on his own. If his smoking only gets more intense, then you should consider telling an adult you trust.
That being said, you should still talk to him. You can mention the facts about how harmful cigarettes are if you want, but a more emotional approach might work a little better. Tell him how much it hurts you to watch him smoke, how much you care about him and let him know that you don’t want him to get sick in the future. Ask him why he’s smoking — Is it to deal with stress or nervousness? Maybe he needs someone to talk to about his problems.
As hard as it is, try not to be too pushy. Ultimately, this is his decision and he’s going to do what he wants. Just be there for him as his friend and continue to be honest with him.
What about you, gURLs? Do any of your friends smoke? How did you talk to them about it? Share your stories and advice below.
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