Thursday, July 8, 1999 Published at 23:57 GMT 00:57 UK
Schools urged to stop adults smoking
Cigarettes should be banned on school premises, says health authority
Two thirds of schools in England allow adults to smoke on their premises.
The Health Education Authority says that the result of its survey reveals the urgent need for a better example to be given to children by completely banning cigarettes from schools.
The survey also showed that smoking by adults was more likely to be tolerated in independent schools than in state schools.
Almost all schools have a policy on smoking, the survey found, but this only extended to creating an entirely smoke-free environment in a minority of schools.
According to the HEA, about 450 more children start smoking each day, leading to an estimated 13% of 11 to 15-year-olds becoming regular cigarette smokers.
Ban on teachers smoking
As a contribution to cutting the number of young smokers, the HEA wants all schools to ban teachers, parents, governors or adult visitors from smoking on school premises.
"Not only do teachers need to advise children about the dangers of smoking, but they must also set a good example by not allowing smoking on the school premises," said Steve Woodward, the HEA's smoking programme manager.
Mr Woodward says that "peer pressure is the tobacco industry's best salesman" and that schools should make every effort to discourage children from taking up smoking.
The HEA has published guidance for schools to help them eradicate smoking from their premises, which includes appointing a working party of staff to develop a formal policy on smoking, to make maximum use of school rules to prevent smoking and to link up with the wider community on anti-smoking projects.