Review decision: 

The guidance will be partially updated.

Next review: To be scheduled

This guidance is for all those responsible for preventing the uptake of smoking by children and young people aged under 19. This includes those working in the NHS, local authorities, education and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors. It may also be of interest to children and young people, their parents or carers and other members of the public.

For the purposes of this guidance, ‘schools’ includes ‘extended schools’ (where childcare or informal education is provided outside school hours), pupil referral units, secure training and local authority secure units. It also includes further education colleges.

The five recommendations include the following advice:

  • The smoking policy should support both prevention and stop smoking activities and should apply to everyone using the premises (including the grounds).
  • Information on smoking should be integrated into the curriculum. For example, classroom discussions could be relevant when teaching biology, chemistry, citizenship and maths.
  • Anti-smoking activities should be delivered as part of personal, social, health and economic (PHSE) and other activities related to Healthy Schools or Healthy Further Education status.
  • Anti-smoking activities should aim to develop decision-making skills and include strategies for enhancing self-esteem. Parents and carers should be encouraged to get involved and students could be trained to lead some of these programmes.
  • All staff involved in smoking prevention should be trained to do so.
  • Educational establishments should work in partnership with outside agencies to design, deliver, monitor and evaluate smoking prevention activities.

This guidance was previously called school-based interventions to prevent smoking.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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