School Based Smoking Prevention Project

Cigarette in ashtray

Smoking kills an estimated 100,000 people a year in the UK, and about 50% of smokers are estimated as likely to die from smoking-related diseases (ash.org). There is also reported to be a great cost to society from smoking, both socially and financially as the health service takes the strain of this preventable cause of disease. At the cost of billions of pounds and so many unnecessary deaths it is understandable that the NHS is working hard to prevent smoking.

Good practice guidance has identified that a key place to start work on smoking prevention is in secondary schools, as prevalence of regular smoking increases quite dramatically with age, from less than 0.5% of 11 year olds to 11% of 15 year olds (nationally, based on information from The Information Centre for Health and Social Care). Perpetuity has been commissioned to evaluate a school based smoking prevention project, designed as a comprehensive approach to prevent young people in Leicestershire from starting to smoke. The project combines a number of interventions, such as:

  • guiding schools to develop and implement a Whole School Smoke-Free policy
  • delivery of targeted assemblies in school using an innovative new campaign (The SmokeScreen) designed to expose manipulation of young people by the tobacco industry
  • integrating lessons within the curriculum, based on teaching packs designed to inform children about ‘Toxic Tobacco Truths’
  • designing communications/ social media marketing campaigns about the ‘social norms’ (e.g. that smoking is less common among school age children than many young people believe)

The key benefit of undertaking an evaluation of a new approach, and indeed the aim for this piece of work, is to inform the service of what worked well, in addition to highlighting any areas for potential improvement. It will also identify how well available resources have been spent, ensuring that the most effective methods are used in the future.

This evaluation will involve a review of good practice literature, analysis of cost effectiveness and of data collected on the interventions undertaken by the schools, stakeholder interviews and consultation with young people receiving the interventions to gain their feedback on the impact of the project.

If you would like to know more about our work in the area of healthy communities or evaluation please visit the website or contact Charlotte Howell (Researcher) on 0116 222 5555 or prci@perpetuitygroup.com.

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