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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 17:23 GMT
Pupils helped to give up smoking
A stubbed out cigarette
Pupils are now being helped and encouraged to give up smoking
A school in East Sussex is offering counselling to teenagers who have become addicted to cigarettes.

Uckfield Community Technology College used to expel pupils who were caught smoking but has changed its policy.

It is now running a clinic to help them give up, in a scheme that has been described as "innovative" by the Department of Health.

Staff will be taught to spot teenagers who may be addicted to cigarettes and offer practical help.

The initiative is being run with the assistance of Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust.

Pupil Angelique Tyrrell started smoking "out of curiosity".

10% of 11 to 15 year old girls smoke regularly
7% of 11 to 15 year old boys smoke regularly
Source: Department of Health (results published 09/03/05)
She said she took advantage of the college's counselling sessions because smoking was affecting her health.

"I have asthma so I gave it up because it would help my health, and it has," she said.

Assistant head teacher Gavin Bellamy said: "We do have a regular hardcore group of smokers who in effect have become addicted.

"My concern really was that, on the back of our 'healthy school' ethos, that we don't just sanction these children who are caught smoking but we actually do something to help them."

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health said it is not clear how widespread these kind of schemes are across the UK, but described the college's approach as "innovative".

08 Feb 03 |  Medical notes


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