Background: Smoking often starts in early adolescence and addiction can occur rapidly. For effective smoking prevention there is a need to identify at risk groups of preadolescent children and whether gender-specific intervention components are necessary. This study aimed to examine associations between mother, father, sibling and friend smoking and cognitive vulnerability to smoking among preadolescent children living in deprived neighbourhoods. Methods: Cross-sectional data was collected from 9–10 year old children (n =1143; 50.7% girls; 85.6% White British) from 43 primary schools in Merseyside, England. Children completed a questionnaire that assessed their smoking-related behaviour, intentions, attitudes, and refusal self-efficacy, as well as parent, sibling and friend smoking. Data for boys and girls were analysed separately using multilevel linear and logistic regression models, adjusting for individual cognitions and school and deprivation level. Results: Compared to girls, boys had lower non-smoking intentions (P = 0.02), refusal self-efficacy (P = 0.04) and were less likely to agree that smoking is ‘definitely’ bad for health (P < 0.01). Friend smoking was negatively associated with non-smoking intentions in girls (P < 0.01) and boys (P < 0.01), and with refusal self-efficacy in girls (P < 0.01). Sibling smoking was negatively associated with non-smoking intentions in girls (P < 0.01) but a positive association was found in boys (P = 0.02). Boys who had a smoking friend were less likely to ‘definitely’ believe that the smoke from other people’s cigarettes is harmful (OR 0.57, 95% CI: 0.35 to 0.91, P = 0.02). Further, boys with a smoking friend (OR 0.38, 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.69, P < 0.01) or a smoking sibling (OR 0.45, 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.98) were less likely to ‘definitely’ believe that smoking is bad for health. Conclusion: This study indicates that sibling and friend smoking may represent important influences on 9–10 year old children’s cognitive vulnerability toward smoking. Whilst some differential findings by gender were observed, these may not be sufficient to warrant separate prevention interventions. However, further research is needed.