Almost 1,000 children start smoking each year in Sheffield – and parents are to blame
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One of the most effective ways to tackle smoking in young people aged 11 to 17 is to reduce the number of adults who smoke, says Sheffield Council.
Children are 90 per cent more likely to smoke if they live in a household where a parent or sibling smokes.
Health officer Sarah Hepworth told a meeting: “We’ve still got 61,000 adults that continue to smoke and 940 children that start smoking every year.
“We’ve made significant success in the last five years in reducing smoking prevalence in all social groups by seven per cent but we still have a long way to go.
“We have 1,000 deaths per year from smoking related illnesses and these are avoidable deaths.
“Smoking in children is at an all time low but we know that the current service we have in place has not achieved the gains that we wanted, in terms of uptake and also helping children from stopping smoking so we need a step change.”
The council is going to stop funding the Smokefree schools programme because it wasn’t having enough of an impact.
The programme was delivered in 26 secondary schools, targeting the most deprived schools with high smoking prevalence.
A report says: “The intention of pupils to avoid smoking is not translating into action. The programme overall has not impacted significantly on our current rates of uptake.
“We also have concerns about long term impact and sustainability of the programme. Due to the pandemic, it has become harder to engage with schools and access children.
“Schools have other competing priorities such as catching up on education and are still dealing with ongoing Covid outbreaks.
“Once young people engage with a stop smoking advisor the outcomes are initially positive, however children do not continue to turn up to further appointments.”
Instead, the council will merge young people into the adult stop smoking service, with a direct supply of nicotine replacements, automatic appointment reminders and social media to promote it.
Places such as the school gates and transport interchanges will be smoke free to help to change social norms around smoking by reducing the visibility and acceptability and discourage young people from starting.