School gives out nicotine patches


The Metro reports that children as young as 13 are being given nicotine patches at a school in an attempt to help them smoking.

In a project, pupils take breath tests before morning lessons to check the levels of nicotine in their bodies.

If they have smoked before they get to school they are given a nicotine replacement patch by a school nurse.

The controversial idea was brought in at Greencroft High School, before the summer break. Seven girls, aged 13 and 14 sought help because they smoked between ten and 20 cigarettes a day.

The breakthrough came when they took part in the dangers of addiction course and were asked about their smoking habits. In addition to patches they were given a hotline number to call if they felt unable to resist the urge to light up.

Four girls managed to stick to the regime and remained tobacco free for two months.

Now 30 of their school mates want to join the programme when they return for the autumn term in September.

The Department of Health said it welcomed any effort to discourage under 16s from smoking.

According to most recent figures, six percent of British 13 year olds smoke regularly and 22 percent of 15 year olds. However, ASH believes many children start as young as nine.

Spokeswoman Amanda Sandford said: “If they start as young as nine or ten, then by thirteen they could be showing all the signs of addiction an adult smoker would. For those children, it is quite reasonable to be given help with nicotine patches. As long as it is done in a controlled way with a teacher or a nurse keeping an eye on them, I don’t see any problem.”


Source: Metro, Daily Mail, Daily Express, 13 August 2004

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