Kyle Academy pupils in Ayr have become the first in Ayrshire to take part in a national anti-smoking campaign
Kyle Academy in Ayr has become the first school in Ayrshire to take 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.
There are several stages to the ASSIST programme:
- Identifying, through a peer questionnaire, the most influential students in the year group.
- Training selected students as 'peer supporters' to have informal conversations with other students in their year about the risks of smoking and the benefits of being smoke-free.
- Providing support for the peer supporters at four school-based follow-up sessions.
23 second year pupils took part in the ASSIST training over 10-12 weeks of the last school term. NHS Ayrshire & Arran's Fresh Air-shire service organised the programme to run in the school.
Danielle Hawkins, Principal Teacher of Guidance (Acting) at Kyle Academy, said, "We were thrilled to be the first school in South Ayrshire to take part in a programme that aims to reduce the levels of underage smoking.
"By encouraging pupils to act as peer supporters we are complementing the messages about the impact of smoking on health that are delivered through the school curriculum.
"The pupils involved learned valuable lessons while also developing new skills. They thoroughly enjoyed being part of the experience and we hope to see real benefits, with more young people making healthy choices about smoking."
Dr Carol Davidson, Director of Public Health, commented, "It's great that Kyle Academy has 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 that we are working with young people to provide the facts about smoking."