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Last Updated: Wednesday December 21 2005 19:00 GMT

Patches to help kids stop smoking

Teenagers smoking.
Kids as young as 12 are to be given special patches in a new scheme to help youngsters stub out smoking.

Pupils at six secondary schools in County Durham will be helped by school nurses to kick their addiction.

The patches contain nicotine, which is what makes cigarettes addictive, and over time, these can help smokers give up the habit.

Although kids have used patches before, it's thought this is the first time several schools have got involved.

A test scheme at a nearby school in Derwentside last year led to about half those who used it quitting smoking.

Man using nicotine patch.
Pupils who sign up for patches will have a health test and their GP will be contacted. Parents will be told if the smoker says it is OK to do so.

Smoking expert Iain Miller said it can take as little as three cigarettes for smokers to become addicted.

He said: "Young people deserve the same opportunities to break their addiction as older people do."

Your comments

All the people that I know who have started smoking do it for the image and reputation. At this age they don't want to stop and wearing patches is the last thing they will do.
Holly, 14, St Albans

I think it's a good idea. If nicotine patches will help young people quit smoking then its definitely a good thing, and if more people do quit others are less likely to start as they will have nobody to encourage them to smoke too.
Grace, 13, Manchester

They are giving children nicotine, which is a drug. Is this sending out the message, that drugs help you? I think it is a really bad idea.
Jo, 13, Northampton

I think teenagers should be encouraged to quit smoking, but there should be support groups for those trying to quit, instead of schools just handing out the patches.
Alisia, 15, Southampton

I think it's ridiculous. Nicotine is a drug, and shouldn't be encouraged. It's bad enough selling the cigarettes to underage smokers already so I think that selling nicotine patches to children is stupid. Surely another way to stop can be found.
Ellie, 15, Lancashire

I think it is a good idea to give out nicotine patches because there are loads of people who smoke at school and I think it is disgusting!
Lauren, 13, Birmingham

I think it's a great idea, but if somebody wears one they might be bullied because they think they are not cool!
Lydia, 12, Sheffield

I used to smoke, but when I tried to stop smoking none of the shops or pharmacies would sell me or my friends patches so I think it's a great idea to sell them to kids - that way they could stop smoking for good.
Joanna, 13, Aberdeen

Good idea, but it's not going to work. It'd be impossible to get just one to give up (due to peer pressure) and the chances of the whole lot giving up are slim. Besides, how are children supposed to give up when their parents won't?
Sam, 14, London

I think this is a good idea because it will help children to stop smoking by helping them with patches.
Emma, 15, Derry

I never knew that kids as young as 12 actually smoked. I was so surprised when I found out, I think it is a good idea about giving patches I just never know how patches work.
Andleeb, 13, London

A few of the kids from the school I go to started smoking and I think they would really benefit from stopping smoking.
Kayleigh, 12, Bristol

I think it's a good idea but most of my friends smoke and I just don't think it will work because we're stroppy teenagers!
Nancy, 13, Wales

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