Young smokers need help to quit the habit
7 October 2008
TEENAGE smokers in the area are not being adequately helped to quit the habit, a health manager has said.
While 60 per cent of adults who try to stop smoking in the East Sussex Downs and Weald health district do so within a month, just 15 per cent of young people succeed.
Diana Grice, East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust's director of public health, said far more needed to be done.
Her report to the trust board showed 14 and 15-year-old girls in East Sussex were now twice as likely to take up smoking as boys.
In Eastbourne, 15 per cent of Year 10 girls smoke at least one cigarette a day, compared to 11 per cent of boys.
Ms Grice said, "It is very difficult to enable young people to change their behaviour. They are at a stage when risk-taking is a part of what you do as a teenager.
"It is a real challenge for health services and education services to engage with young people. We have actually employed social marketing techniques to help us do this better."
Teenagers do get in contact with stop-smoking services but more than half drop out.
The PCT must achieve a national target of cutting the number of child smokers from 13 per cent in 1996 to nine per cent or less by 2010.
Sarah Valentine, director of commissioning and primary care, suggested pharmacists could provide stop-smoking services and said many were 'champing at the bit' to do so.
This would give quitters help at high street locations.
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