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Helping teenagers stop smoking: comparative observations across youth settings in Cardiff
Hannah Bowles, Youth Health Development Officer and Alison Maher, Marine Chambers, Cardiff
Smoking rates in young people aged 11 -18 have not declined at the same rate as in the adult population in the UK and Wales. Initiatives aimed at reducing the number of young people smoking are primarily school based, however, these interventions are often thought to fail to reach high-risk young people, as they are more likely to reject school-based information, truant or be excluded from school. This has led to calls for adolescent smoking cessation programmes to also focus on ‘out-of-school youth’.
This paper presents comparative observations between schools/colleges, youth centres, specialist youth provision and residential homes, in relation to delivery of a six week smoking cessation & awareness programme [2Tuff2Puff] to young people in Cardiff. Sessions were attended by 204 young people in 24 different youth venues between 2005–2006. The primary outcomes used were reduction in weekly cigarette consumption and changes in attitude, CO monitoring was used as a tool in the study but not for validation.
Reduction in average weekly cigarette consumption was greatest in Schools/Colleges [52% fewer per week] and positive change in attitude toward quitting was greatest in specialist youth settings [86% of attendees more determined to quit]. Overall, when both practical delivery issues [access to young smokers, acceptability to young people, supportiveness of environment for quitting] and outcome measures were considered, specialist youth venues were the most effective settings for delivery of this programme. Delivery of smoking awareness as part of a wider health curriculum for groups of excluded young people is recommended.
Hannah Bowles has been a Youth Health Development Officer with the National Public Health Service for Wales’s Smoke Free Cardiff project since 2004 after gaining a BSc Hons, degree in Psychology from Cardiff University
Within this post, Hannah has worked with schools, colleges, youth centres, alternative curriculum, and residential homes to develop and deliver the 2tuff2puff six-week smoking cessation course to young people. Hannah has also delivered smoking awareness workshops to young people and training to youth practitioners. Hannah’s current work focus is on completion of an accredited adolescent smoking programme resource pack for stop smoking groups, PSE classes, and delivery of OCN units .
Alison Maher joined Smoke Free Cardiff in January 2006 as a Youth Health Development Officer, bringing with her two years of experience in the field of substance misuse and young people. She has a BSc Hons degree in Social Science from the University of Glamorgan.
Alison has worked on the development and delivery of adolescent smoking cessation work in Cardiff, and completed a city wide audit of youth centre provision in relation to smoking and substance misuse. Alison’s current work involves ongoing evaluation and support for youth provisions in Cardiff on smoking issues and development of resources, particularly for use with excluded young people.