Smoking and Vaping

To nurture the skills of resilience is key to providing young people with the ability to cope with stress, adversity, failure and challenges. Resilience is evident when young people have a greater ability to “bounce back” when faced with difficulties and achieve positive outcomes.

Resilience is required to say “NO” to the offer of a cigarette or to smoke and vape and to withstand the pressure to conform to a group image.

• It is estimated that each year about 207,000 children in the UK start smoking ( sheets)
• More than 80% of adult smokers started smoking as a teenager and 40% started smoking regularly before the age of 16.
• The Health Related Behaviour Survey for Cambridgeshire (2018) indicates that 18% of Year 10 boys and 24% of Year 10 girls reported that they were either currently smoking or had done so in the past.
• Whilst there is a downward trend in children and young people choosing to smoke, the Government aims to, by the end of 2022, reduce the number of 15-year-olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less.


• In England and in Great Britain as a whole, experimentation with E-Cigarettes has steadily increased in recent years. However, regular use remains low, with 1.7% of 11 to 18 year olds in Great Britain reporting at least weekly use in 2018 (it was 0.4% among 11 year olds and 2.6% among 18 year olds).
• Vaping continues to be associated with smoking. The proportion of young people who have never smoked who use EC at least weekly remains very low (0.2% of 11 to 18 year olds in 2018).
• The proportion who haven’t smoked but have tried vaping is increasing.
• Studies from outside of the UK suggest a similar picture, with increasing experimentation and use of E-Cigarettes over time among youth. There is evidence from the US that increasing vaping is happening against a backdrop of reducing cigarette smoking. .

Over 90% of 15 year olds in England and across Cambridgeshire recognise that other people’s smoking can harm the health of non-smokers, although this percentage is lower in Peterborough.

In Cambridgeshire 1% of boys and girls in year 8 define themselves as regular smokers.

In Cambridgshire 6% of boys and 8% of girls in year 10 define themselves as regular smokers.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are much more likely to be born to mothers who smoke, and to suffer greater exposure to second-hand smoke as they grow up. They are also more likely to grow up with family members and friends who smoke.

Cambridgeshire’s smoking prevalence at age 15 is in line with the England average of 8.2%, however, Peterborough is higher at 9.1%.

Cambridgeshire Peterborough East of England England
Smoking prevalence at age 15 – current smokers (WAY survey) 2014/15 8.2% 9.1% 8.9% 8.2%



Effective interventions include tackling illegal sales, targeted campaigns and improving education about the harms of tobacco.

  • Develop a whole-school or organisation-wide smoke free policy in consultation with young people and staff.
  • Develop a policy that forms part of the wider healthy school strategy on wellbeing, sex and relationships education, drug education and behaviour.
  • Apply the policy to everyone using the premises (grounds as well as buildings), for any purpose, at any time. Do not allow any areas in the grounds to be designated for smoking (with the exception of caretakers’ homes, as specified by law).
  • Widely publicise the policy and ensure it is easily accessible so that everyone using the premises is aware of its content.
  • Ensure the policy supports smoking cessation in addition to prevention, by making information easily available to staff and students.

Most smokers start in adolescence during their school years. Smoking remains the single most preventable cause of premature death and ill health in society. Schools have an important role to play in the prevention of smoking amongst pupils and providing a safe environment, free from second hand smoke. In addition, smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes represent a health and safety issue for schools.

Schools are discouraged to use approaches that are proven to be least effective, such as scare tactics, ex-users, and knowledge-only approaches.


Parents and carers are offered information and advice to enable them to support their children.

Use clear referral pathways, for example into school nursing, school counselling, early help services, voluntary sector services, young people’s drugs and alcohol services or to a youth worker, as needed.


The facts about legal and illegal harmful substances and associated risks, including smoking, alcohol use, and drug taking.


  • The facts about legal substances and illegal substances, including drug-taking, and the associated risks, including the link to serious mental health conditions.
  • The facts about the harms from smoking tobacco (particularly the link to lung cancer), the benefits of stopping smoking and how to access support to do so.


Source – NICE and PHE December 2020

Healthy You, Healthy Schools Smoking Service

The Healthy You, Healthy Schools Smoking Service provides both smoking and vaping support for young people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. There are many components to the offer which can be delivered separately or in combination. They are as follows:

  • This is a student led smoking prevention programme. It is based on a framework of peer mentorship and it is delivered in line with current NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) best practice guidance. The 1 day Mentor training (targeted at Y8 and Y9) encourages young people to explore the different reasons and motivations their peers may have for smoking/vaping and to subsequently champion the importance of being smoke/vape free. The Kick Ash programme also includes workshop sessions for delivery by the mentors to Y7 students as well as to Y6 pupils as part of the transition process.

More information can be found at: Kick Ash

These are school based and provide support, through behaviour therapy, to those students who are wanting to give up smoking/ vaping. There are 3 consecutive clinics which are lead by specialist smoking advisors who meet with the students (for approximately 20 minutes) either in a small group or on a 1:1 basis.

These are school based and provide information as well as opportunities for small group discussion on the risks of smoking and vaping as well as the associated regulations to enable the students to make informed choices. Each session is approximately 20 minutes and is lead by a Healthy Schools staff member.

This comprises a selection of slides for display on digital screens to provide quick hits of information and key messages on the dangers of smoking and how and where the students can get support to quit.

Downloadable MP4 video file

Smoking & vaping digital screen slides

Downloadable Powerpoint slide show

Smoking & vaping screen slides

These consist of a selection of bite-size smoking activities that can be delivered during tutor group time to provide a platform for discussion as well as self-reflection. A voice over presentation is also included which provides an overview of the Healthy You Student Stop Smoking/Vaping Service to encourage students to come forward to access the support available.


Smoking & Vaping. Information for Teachers

Stop Vaping Overview for Students

Stop Smoking Overview for Students

The Healthy You Stop Smoking Service For Students. Assembly


This is a bespoke text messaging service which is available for young people between the age of 13 – 17 who may prefer to opt for a series of remote 1:1 clinic sessions held with one of the Healthy You smoking advisors.

Healthy You Young People Stop Smoking Flyer

If any printed copies of this flyer are required, please email:

This form has been devised especially for the referral of young people between the age of 11 and 18 who have agreed to receive dedicated support to help them stop smoking or to find out more about vaping and how safe it is.

Schools are encouraged to provide the opportunity for young people who are known to be smokers and vapers to attend the awareness raising sessions as a first step to considering quitting in the future. It is important, however, that the young people understand that these sessions provide positive support through the encouragement of transparent and reflective dialogue and are designed to enable them to make informed decisions.

The young people have to commit to attend the initial session; a pledge to change their behaviour may come later with a pathway for quitting then worked out.

Whilst it is the intention to provide support to young people on the school site; there is also the option for any young person to access the community based  Healthy You Stop Smoking Service. The referral form can be used for this too by all professionals.

Healthy You Healthy Schools Referral Form

For more information please contact:

Healthy Schools Officer or call: 07885 211 681

Paige Furnell – Healthy You Smoking Practitioner

Local Support

Healthy You

Healthy You has been commissioned and funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council to provide a range of health and active lifestyle services for people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The FREE services for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents who are looking to make changes to their lifestyle, include:- Stop Smoking Falls Drink Less Weight

Read More About Healthy You

Life Education Cambridgeshire & Peterborough

We teach young people how amazing their bodies are and how the human body can be affected by drugs. Through the ‘life skills’ approach, children are enabled to practise how to make healthy decisions. We also provide young people with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence to enable them to make healthy choices. The programmes build

Read More About Life Education Cambridgeshire & Peterborough