Although the number of people smoking is at its lowest level since records began, approximately 1 in 5 adults continue to smoke in England and approximately 96,000 people die each year as a direct result of smoking.
Most smokers want to quit but find it difficult due to the heavily addictive nature of nicotine. Most adult smokers start smoking as children making it a childhood decision that becomes an adult addiction. Smokers who start before the age of 16 are twice as likely to continue smoking in later life and are also more likely to be heavier smokers. Preventing children from starting smoking is key to reducing the long-term harm caused by smoking in our society.
What can we do?
Reducing youth uptake of smoking requires us to change the adult world in which children grow up in. Parental smoking along with other significant adults smoking has a major influence on whether a young person starts smoking. Children who grow up in a home where one parent smokes are 60% more likely to start smoking themselves, if both parents smoke this risk is even greater. Protecting at-risk children requires a package of interventions that should be delivered synergistically.
- Promoting robust whole school smoke-free policies that reduce children’s exposure to smoking by adults.
- Encouraging parents to quit through supportive approaches and publicising the school smoke-free policy
Resources for young people
- Be Healthy Bucks offers advice and support to quit smoking. Although the service is not a specialist youth service it can support young people over the age of 12 years who are motivated to quit. Call 03332 300177 or visit the Be Healthy BucksWebsite for more information.
- Visit ASH who are a campaigning public health charity that works to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco. There is a range of resources and information that can be downloaded, including information on e-cigarettes (vaping).
- For more information about health and wellbeing in Bucks please visit Health and wellbeing Bucks via NHS