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Young people and schools

Teenager discussing with healthcare professionalSmoking causes cancer and can kill you. It uses up all of your money, makes your breath stink and your teeth rot – and that’s NOT sexy! Get help now to quit or don’t start in the first place! If you or your mates smoke, now is the time to stop.

The younger you start smoking, the more you are to die as a result. Research shows that 50% of teenagers who carry on smoking will die in their 40s or 50s.

But don’t think that you have to give up alone or in secret: there’s loads of help available to help you quit. For free confidential advice, contact the local stop smoking service T.A.S.K. on 01706 751190. You can also speak to your school nurse, join the Up in Smoke programme or try and get your school to join the local peer support scheme where young people work together to help each other to stop smoking.

Early Break: Up in Smoke programme

Early Break has developed a Smoking Cessation Programme called Up in Smoke for young people aged under 21 years and living in the Rochdale Borough area. The programme has been commissioned by the council and it is delivered in a range of community settings including schools and within the home.

The aims of the programme are to:

  • Raise awareness and educate young people and their families around the risk and harm caused by smoking and the impact on health and well being.
  • Promote and deliver smoking cessation services including Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) amongst young people and their families through delivery of a whole family approach.
  •  Introduce and sign up families to the smoke free homes and cars campaign.
  •  Referral to adult Smoking Cessation Services for parents and carers.

The programme uses creative and interactive tools to engage and deliver smoking cessation for both parents and children, in a one to one or group setting. It uses a psychosocial approach to assess the needs of the young person wanting to quit smoking tobacco and this includes looking at how the family can support the young person to meet their goals. With consent from parents/carers, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can be prescribed as required to support young people in their attempts to quit.

These are the referral criteria to Early Break’s Smoking Cessation Programme:

  • Aged under 21 years and living in the Rochdale Borough and wanting support with smoking cessation of tobacco.
  • Currently smoking cigarettes, including e-cigarettes, chewing and/or rolling tobacco.
  • Have parents/carers/guardians who also smoke cigarettes or rolling tobacco (can be one parent/carer/guardians or both).
  • Has a motivation and dedication to quit smoking (desirable).

How do I join the programme?

Young people (and parents/carers concerned about their children) can self-refer, without needing a professional to make a referral on their behalf. You can do this by contacting Early Break at or calling 0161 723 3880. You can also fill in the referral form with as much information as possible (you don't have to complete everything) and send it back to Early Break.

DECIPHer-ASSIST - a Stop Smoking in Schools trial

DECIPHer-ASSIST is a health promotion programme in which Year 8 students are trained to reduce smoking amongst their peers. The scheme was developed through research at Cardiff University and the University of Bristol, funded by the Medical Research Council. Research has shown that smoking amongst young people is a group activity and that one of the best predictors of a young person taking up smoking is the smoking behaviour of their peers.

The DECIPHer – ASSIST peer supporters are selected by pupils in year 8 as being the most influential students. The peer supporters are then trained by facilitators to have informal chats within their year group about the risks of smoking and the benefits of being smoke free.

How to get involved

Any Secondary School in the Borough can approach the Health Improvement Team by contacting 01706 924187.

An example of the DECIPHer-ASSIST timetable
  • Week 1: The peer nomination process is administered at the school by the Health Improvement Team at the school (takes approximately 20 minutes).
  • Week 2: Once the questionnaires have been completed, there is a Peer Supporters Recruitment Meeting at the school and consent forms for parents are distributed (takes approximately 30 mins)
  • Week 4: A two day training course is arranged for the Peer Supporters at an external site during school time. The students have the opportunity to learn about the health impacts of smoking in an enjoyable and fun environment.
  • Weeks 5 – 14: Four follow up sessions with the Peer Supporters are held in school (one every three weeks, taking approximately 45-60 minutes) to review their experiences and monitor their diaries recording health chats they have had.

The Health Improvement Team visits the school to evaluate the success at regular intervals.


Early Break - Up in Smoke programme:

0161 723 3880

Twitter: @EarlyBreakUK

T.A.S.K. Stop Smoking Service:

01706 751190

Suite G2, Lock 50 Business Centre
Oldham Road
OL16 5RD