Thinking of starting a
smoking cessation programme
for your pupils and staff?
Guidance produced by Berkshire Healthy Schools – a service
hosted by Berkshire East PCT on behalf of the six unitary
authorities in Berkshire
This guidance leaflet is based on a pilot with secondary
schools in Berkshire and includes; questions to consider
before you begin, what the sessions will cover, the expected
benefits and lists of key contacts who can help
Questions to consider before you begin
1. Have you got the support of your lead governor, deputy headteacher and teaching and
learning co-ordinator responsible for PSHE across year group 10? This is vital to ensure
this work is timetabled appropriately and forms part of a whole school approach towards
gaining healthy schools status.
2. Have you considered which year group would be best to work with? In the pilot phase
year 10 pupils were targeted as year 9 pupils had not started smoking in sufficient
numbers and year 11 had too many timetabling pressures of GSCEs.
3. Are you confident to lead a whole year group motivational assembly to advertise the
sessions? Don’t worry if you are not – see your list of local contacts.
4. Have you ensured your selected smoking cessation advisor has been trained through the
adult programme and shadowed a young people’s session for at least six weeks? The
adult Time to Quit programme is not delivered in quite the same way and skills to
motivate young people are vital.
5. Have you seen proof of CRB checks for all people involved in delivering the sessions?
6. Do you have a colleague who can help those young people who need counselling support
as well as help to quit smoking? In the pilot schools having an adult mentor in the school
helped to sustain students attendance where their own parents/carers were unaware of
their smoking status.
7. Have you negotiated with your pupils: what time of day, who they would like to share the
course with, where it should take place, whether they wish to be rewarded on completion
of the course or for their participation to be kept confidential? In one case a student was
given support from her mother and valued a certificate awarded in front of the whole
school… others wanted complete confidentiality. Options of one to one, paired or group
work should be offered.
8. Do you have a room free for individual, pair or group work where the sessions will not be
9. Do you have a timetable with your headteachers agreement which allows you to
take young people out of class for a 20-40 minute session per week for a six week
programme? If not then you should consider just using the motivational assembly and
signposting adult stop smoking services locally. 20 minutes may be sufficient if only two
people wish to quit but larger groups will need longer.
10. Have you allowed enough time for the students to get to and from their lessons before
and after the session? Some may need a member of staff to remind them. Pupils who
attended during their lunch break could miss their lunch so the ideal situation is for the
programme to be integrated into PSHE time.
11. Pupils who normally use school buses may well be unable to attend pre or post school
sessions as attendance would compromise the confidentiality of the sessions.
12. Do you have other members of staff who have recently given up or who will try to give up
smoking with the pupils to encourage them? Students who did stop smoking had the
support either of their family or of a key worker in the school who acted as a role model.
13. Have you spoken to the local smoking cessation managers to ensure that the completion
of the documentation for the statutory Department of Health returns is fully agreed and in
line with your confidentiality policy? You will need the support of the school nurse if
patches are to be prescribed which will assure a greater success rate. School nurses and
other advisors employed by the Primary Care Trust can legitimately record the person’s
actual address, provided parental consent is given. If you do not have an agreement from
the parents then you will only be able to record the postcode of the school.
What will the six sessions cover?
When you have agreed the above and arranged for an assembly and a six week session each
session will cover the core activities overleaf but be flexible if the participants wish to have
additional sessions on say:
Stress busting and relaxation Environmental issues
Sports and fitness Tobacco industry projects
Group projects (e.g. creating a photo Beauty and skin care
story) Diet and healthy eating
Week 1: statutory DH documentation, ground rules, expectations of sessions,
exploration of why people start smoking and their own reasons, the cycle of change and
readiness to quit, Carbon Monoxide (CO) monitor readings, keeping a smoking diary
Week 2: Diary feedback to identify patterns, CO readings, what is in cigarette smoke,
health benefits of stopping, body mapping, methods of stopping, setting a date
Week 3: review of attempts to stop, coping strategies, ways of relaxing, motivation for
stopping, the cost of smoking, CO readings
Week 4: Review of progress, sharing tips on what works well and what doesn’t,
celebrating positive changes. CO readings, changing daily routines, dilemma discussions
Week 5: review of progress, feelings and cravings, what did you spend your extra
money on, group activities, facts from the tobacco industry, CO reading
Week 6: reflection on sessions, ways of staying stopped, quiz, certificates, continuing
sources of help, CO reading, statutory DH returns
Choosing which pupils should participate
Those who express commitment to quitting within six weeks. Students who have strong personal
reasons to do so such as ‘to be fitter to play football’ or ‘to help me breathe more easily’ or ‘to
have more money to spend’ i.e. personal benefits rather than benefits to their family or friends.
If you are hoping to support pupils who have multiple pressures such as family problems or
violence at home they will need additional time and ongoing support within the school to develop
Benefits cited by young people such as feeling less short of breath, having more spending
money or skin looking clearer
A reduction in CO monitor readings however slight was motivational for staff and pupils
Quit rates of between 15-50% (the upper figure may only be achieved if pre-selection
criteria are met, one to one support sessions and parental or other adult support is given)
Pupils liked the programme and were willing to advertise local adult smoking cessation
services to their parents and carers
Role models in school for others to follow
Anecdotal evidence by teachers suggests improved behaviour was achieved among former
Key people who can help
Jenny Reaper – Smoking Cessation Manager
Tel: 01344 823267 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria David – Young People Stop Smoking Coordinator
Tel:01344 823338 Email: email@example.com
Dr Christine Cook – Smoking Cessation Manager West Berkshire
Tel: 0118 9525400 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sylvia Marusic – Young People Stop Smoking Coordinator
Tel: 0118 9495192 Email: email@example.com
All managers run staff training in the adult Time to Quit programme and manage the
teams of local advisors who work within schools, children’s centres and extended schools.
Some school nurses, health visitors and youth workers can support the delivery
of smoking cessation sessions in schools or children’s centres –(please contact your
local smoking cessation managers who can give you contact details of local advisors)
Berkshire Health Promotion Resources Service
Staff who have been trained to deliver the young peoples programme can
borrow Pico-Lo carbon monoxide monitors for the six week period of the
course. These monitors show a finer scale than the adult gauge and encourage
young people even when consumption rates are small per week. They were very popular
with young people and adults in the pilot. To become a registered resources service user
you will need to specify a local NHS delivery point for the equipment and state when your
six sessions will run. To register go to www.bhps.org.uk/resources You will find it helpful
for other resources too.
No Smoking Day Resources March 14th 2007
Can be downloaded at or ordered from www.nosmokingday.org.uk
Break free for young people
For more information go to: www.quit.org.uk
Drug education Consultants
If you concerned that young people may need the additional support of local drug
education workers who specialise in a range of drugs education as well as supporting the
smoking cessation programme then please contact
East Berkshire – Jenny Vaughan at firstname.lastname@example.org
West Berkshire – Natalie Ofkants at email@example.com
Jan Shally at firstname.lastname@example.org
The full report of the pilot can be viewed on the website at: