UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - UKNSCC
2009 UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - London more...

Introducing a successful peer-led smoking cessation programme into Tower Hamlets schools
Simon Twite, Public Health Strategist, (Children and Young People), Tower Hamlets PCT, London, UK


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Simon Twite

Tobacco use by young people is of great public health concern worldwide, but particularly in Tower Hamlets – prevalence amongst the adult population is amongst the highest in England. Smoking related disease accounts for approximately 30% of the life expectancy gap. By the age of 16 around 65% of children have experimented with smoking. While the morbidity and mortality associated with smoking will not become manifest until later in life, research suggests that early smoking uptake is related to the number of cigarettes smoked and with decreased quit rates in later life. Researchers in Cardiff and Bristol developed ASSIST (A Stop Smoking In Schools Trial), evaluation of which suggested efficacy at reducing uptake of smoking in 12 to 13 year olds.

As part of its broader strategy to reduce uptake, Tower Hamlets became the first area in England to apply this model in its own schools, in one of the most ethnically diverse and materially deprived areas of the country. At its core is the peer support concept; influential children are empowered to disseminate information concerning the health risks of smoking to their peers informally.

This presentation will present the results arising from the first year of the programmes roll-out.


About the presenter
Simon Twite is a Public Health Strategist (Children and Young People) in Tower Hamlets PCT.


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