Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

School-based interventions to prevent the uptake of smoking among children

NICE are consulting on the scope for guidance they are developing on “education interventions” which prevent children and young people from starting smoking.

Their current draft has two key questions: 

  • Which school-based interventions are effective and cost-effective in preventing children and young people from taking up smoking?
  • What factors aid the delivery of effective school-based interventions to prevent the uptake of smoking? What are the barriers to successful delivery?

They also set out expected outcomes:

  • A reduction in smoking prevalence;
  • Self-reported or biochemical validation of non-smoking status;
  • A reduction in the prevalence of experimentation with smoking;
  • Changes in knowledge and attitudes related to smoking tobacco; and
  • As a secondary outcome, improved social skills (including refusal skills), an ability to cope with stress or peer pressure, improved self-esteem and self-efficacy.

Having been to the stakeholder’s event they held today here are some things that came out from the questions put to the people from NICE: 

  • At the moment the guidance will take in non-formal education and FE colleges, but will exclude children being home educated. [I think it would be helpful if they were explicit about this in the scope.]
  • When they talk about “educational interventions” this doesn’t mean they will restrict themselves to teaching or class room activity. In other words they will also look at things like smoking policy, peer mentoring etc.
  • They currently aren’t looking at delay of onset as one of the expected outcomes.

My initial thoughts are that our response will be looking to have informal education and Further Education explicitly included in the scope of the guidance, and to argue that home schooling should be part of the remit. I also wonder whether it would be helpful to look at the information, advice and guidance that Connexions provides to young people, particularly those who are not in education, employment or training.

I think we should also be asking that they include changes in skill sets as a primary outcome and that delaying onset should also be seen as an outcome from smoking prevention activities.

We may want to ask NICE to consider whether the biochemical validation – drug testing – needs to be carried out in ways that are compatible with the guidance schools work to on drug testing.

I also think we should ask NICE to think about who the guidance will be aimed at. The referral from the Department of Health talks about local authorities and primary care, but I think that could be usefully extended to school and college leaders (governors and head teachers), and youth services.

Should you want to join the Forum in having your say on the scope then there is a form to fill in.

Any thoughts need to be with NICE by 5 pm on 20th October.


Filed under: NICE, tobacco

One Response

  1. Karen Walter says:

    Wow What a great site

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