Students stay smoke free

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Pupils from Carrick Academy in Maybole have taken part in a national training programme to help reduce the numbers of young people taking up or trying smoking.

The ASSIST programme aims to reduce smoking among young people aged 12 to 13 by training influential students to spread the word on new norms of behaviour through their established social networks.

Twenty-three first year pupils, pictured above, took part in the ASSIST training over 14 weeks of the last school term. NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s smoking cessation service, Fresh Air-shire, organised the programme to run in the school.

Gavin Pitt, Deputy Head Teacher at Carrick Academy, said: “Bringing down rates of teenage smoking is an important part of our wider work with young people, with healthy lifestyles playing an important part in their general well-being. ASSIST has been a worthwhile programme because it’s empowered young people to make their own choices.”

“By giving people the facts and figures about tobacco, and highlighting the potential side effects of taking up the habit, we hope that people will come to sensible conclusions.”

Dr Carol Davidson, Director of Public Health, commented: “We are delighted that Carrick Academy has become the second school in South Ayrshire to have signed up to this innovative programme. During the last academic year, more than 20,000 students throughout the UK have taken part in ASSIST. The feedback from the schools which have been involved so far has been very positive.

“NHS Ayrshire & Arran is committed to achieving the Scottish Government’s aim of having a tobacco-free generation by 2034. The ASSIST programme is just one of the ways through which we are working with young people to provide the facts about smoking.”