Education, relationships, health and money as a looked after child

Avoiding things that can harm your health

We understand as a young person, you will be exposed to lots of choices, and we want to encourage you to make the right ones. You will have friends who want to try everything and it can be easy to think ‘why not?’ and give it a go. But this can lead to unhealthy and dangerous habits which could have a real long term, serious effect on you and your health.


Did you know that smoking can be as addictive as taking heroin or cocaine? Most adult smokers started smoking when they were teenagers, encouraged by their friends or because they wanted to fit in.

Health risks of smoking

Smoking can cause serious health problems when you are older such as heart attacks, strokes and diseases that can affect your breathing.

Smoking will also cause:

  • Wrinkles around your eyes and mouth - smokers’ skin can be prematurely aged by between 10 and 20 years
  • Tobacco-stained fingers
  • Yellowish-brown teeth, gum disease and bad breath
  • Your hair and clothes to smell of smoke.

Get help to give up smoking


Trying any drug can lead to addiction, which means that you will need to take it regularly, because you will have withdrawal symptoms if you do not.

Illegal drugs

All drugs that have not been prescribed by your doctor or bought from a chemist are illegal to have.

Get more information and advice about drugs from Talk to Frank. 

Solvents, glue and gases

Sniffing solvents or gases on purpose to get high is called solvent abuse, this includes:

  • Glue
  • Cigarette lighter refills
  • Aerosols
  • Petrol
  • Cleaning products.

The risks

The risks can be fatal. You can cause long term damage to your health as well as the chance that you could:

  • Suffocate
  • Choke
  • Hallucinate, which can be very scary
  • Be sick.

It can also cause:

  • Your heart to race or give you an irregular heart rhythm
  • Explosions because solvents can catch light very easily.

Get more information and advice about solvents, glue and gases from Talk to Frank


Unlike illegal drugs, alcohol is accepted as part of most people’s social life.

Drinking small amounts of alcohol has no bad effects on your health, but regularly drinking too much can have serious effects now and in the future. If you binge drink – that is, drink too much in one go, you could:

  • Die
  • Pass out and be robbed or assaulted
  • Suffer brain damage.