The ASSIST (A stop smoking in schools trial) programme in West Sussex - an evaluation and factors for future adoption of the programme
Anna Kirk and Emma Starling
Anna Kirk Regional Tobacco Control Policy Manager South East Coast and west Sussex Tobacco Control Lead, NHS West Sussex
The ASSIST programme licence is available for purchase and has been evaluated previously randomised cluster trial (Lancet 2008) done in Wales and South West. The ASSIST programme aims to reduce smoking amongst young people aged 12-13 (Year 8) by training influential students to disseminate new norms of behaviour through their established social networks. The ASSIST programme is compliant with NICE guidance on â€˜School- based interventions to prevent smoking (PH 23 Feb 2010).
Much discussion has been had at the South East tobacco control, young peoples and commissioning networks about the validity of using this model in a population with different characteristics to Wales and South East.
The ASSIST programme was implemented, in accordance with the ASSIST licence, in 2 schools identified to have higher smoking rates in West Sussex. In total in the two schools 62 pupils were trained as peer supporters and worked with a total of 421 year 8 pupils. A survey was done with the peer supporters, the year 8s and feedback taken from the school and those delivering the programme. An evaluation of the programme was undertaken examining both processes and outcomes for pupils in year 8.
Important factors for were identified relevant to future adoption of the programme.
Anna Kirk has worked in Public Health for 8 years, previously working coordinating lifestyle surveys of young people, and alcohol programmes, she has worked on tobacco for 4 years becoming the regional policy lead in early 2011.
Source of funding: The programme and evaluation was funded by NHS West Sussex as part of Tobacc Control within Public Health expenditure.