Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Sunday, 3 August 2008 17:16 UK

Children get help to stop smoking

Nicky White
Nicky White began smoking when he started high school

Children as young as 12 are being given nicotine patches through their schools in an attempt to stop them smoking.

Priory School and Sports College is one of several schools in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, which has signed up for the government scheme.

In February England's official NHS advisory body said pupils should get help for serious smoking problems.

One parent whose teenage son is getting help to stop smoking told the BBC the scheme was "fantastic".

'Horrible pictures'

Karen White's son Nicky started smoking up to 10 cigarettes a day after starting senior school.

The 13-year-old told BBC Look North: "When I went into the senior year I was with the big 'uns and I thought 'shall I try it?' and I did and I got addicted so I thought it was good.

"But I thought it was horrible when I saw the pictures on the internet about lung cancer so I thought I would stop."

Nicky said he tried to stop smoking on his own but failed.

After being caught smoking in school grounds, his teachers at Priory School and Sports College contacted his mother to see if she would agree to him taking part in the scheme.

Some parents have complained that the school is interfering in their role but Karen said she supported the school's actions "100%".

She said: "I think it's really great, it's fantastic.

"Smoking is a killer, it's a very bad killer and I don't want my kids to die with it.

"Everybody should be 100% behind the school."

'Supervised programme'

Nicky, who gets his nicotine patches and chewing gum on prescription, said he now tries to get his friends to stop smoking.

"I say they should stop because of lung cancer and it might kill them," he said.

"I couldn't run as fast as I could [before I started smoking] and I couldn't jump. It's good to stop."

A spokesman for Barnsley Primary Care Trust said it had helped almost 100 young people to successfully stop smoking over the past year.

He said: "Barnsley follows National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) guidance in supporting young people to stop smoking with advice, information and one-to-one support."

Child nicotine patches approved
27 Feb 08 |  Health

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