Alex's Answer

What do I do if my friends drink and smoke?

Your Question

What to do if my friends drink and smoke? 


Hi there and welcome to Ask Alex.  

You have asked us what to do if your friends drink and smoke and we are wondering if you are worried about feeling under pressure to join in or maybe worried about your friends’ safety. Either way, thank you for reaching out to us and we will do our best to give you a helpful answer. 

In Ireland the legal age to buy alcohol and cigarettes is 18 years old. It is illegal to pretend to be 18 to buy alcohol. If you or your friends start drinking or smoking before you are 18 you are breaking the law unless you are in a home and doing so with parental consent. If you are caught drinking alcohol by the Gardaí, they can confiscate your drink. You may be summoned to the district court where you may get a fine. 

If your friends decide to decide to experiment with alcohol and cigarettes before they reach this age, remember that you don’t have to do the same. As well as being against the law, drinking alcohol and smoking at a young age can affect your development. By deciding not to drink and smoke you are looking after your physical and mental health and staying in control of situations you are in to keep yourself safe. 

If you are feeling under pressure to drink or smoke, you may feel worried that your friends will leave you out, but you can let them know that you can have just as much fun and feel happier without cigarettes or alcohol. You can read more about feeling pressured and how to deal with it here: and

There are lots of reasons to not drink and smoke and you can be honest with your friends about your decisions not to participate such as your health and fitness and protecting your mental health but remember you should not have to justify your choices. 

If you are worried about being around your friends when they are drinking or smoking maybe you could organise events that won’t involve alcohol or cigarettes such as going for a walk or going to the cinema. 

Perhaps you have a trusted adult in your life such as a parent, aunt or uncle who you can talk to about your worries and questions relating to this. Not only is it often a great relief to share your concerns, but this trusted adult may also be able to help you navigate the situation you find yourself in at the moment. If you would like to speak to somebody else about this, Childline is always here to listen to you. You can contact the online chat at or contact the phone service on 1800 66 66 66. Childline is a free and confidential service available 24 hours, 7 days a week. 

Thanks again for trusting us with your question. 

Take care 


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