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Aim one

Prevent even more children and young people from taking up smoking and vaping

What's driving this?

  • One child a day in Cheshire West and Chester is born to a mum who has smoked throughout pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy can lead to serious short and long-term health issues, including complications at birth, certain birth defects and brain development problems, and sudden infant death
  • Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to be under 20 and live in more deprived communities with high rates of smoking, this can make it much more difficult to quit long-term
  • Children who grow up around adult smokers are more likely to take up smoking and most adult smokers start during childhood. We need to break the cycle
  • Smoking rates are highest amongst children who face other vulnerabilities and health-risking behaviours in their lives
  • 23.9 per cent of 15 year olds have tried an e-cigarette. The law bans sales to people under 18. Current best evidence suggests only existing smokers will go on to vape regularly, but this is not conclusive and it is best for young people not to vape
  • The peak age for smoking spans the late teens and 20s. Most adult smokers start smoking during their teenage years.

Objectives and key actions

A smokefree pregnancy for all - reduce smoking throughout pregnancy from 10 per cent to 6 per cent or less

  • Local maternity services will fully implement essential learning from the BabyClear programme in addition to NICE guidelines PH26 and PH48
  • Identify a system leader to champion and coordinate action on smoking in pregnancy
  • Work with local women to test and develop approaches that help prevent relapse and build resilience to smoking triggers e.g. buddying or stress management techniques
  • Consider changes in policy in relation to vaping as a harm reduction measure in pregnancy within the context of existing guidance on nicotine replacement and the work of the national Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group
  • Enable staff to participate in new training which is being developed by Public Health England for all healthcare professionals.

A smokefree childhood for all - reduce smoking and vaping amongst 15 year olds from 6.8 per cent to less than 3 per cent

  • Embed high quality brief advice training in services that work with young people, for example within the 0-19 service, with particular emphasis on the needs of those who work with the most vulnerable individuals. This should include continuing advice on smokefree homes, cars and vaping
  • Develop consistent messages, consistent advice and support pathways that span across maternity, 0-19 and other services for young people, families and carers
  • Equip professionals and public with simple advice on preventing accidental injury to children from cigarettes and e-cigarettes. This should also include tips on how to report the distribution of illicit tobacco or e-cigarettes, or illegal sales to under 18s
  • Assess the need to update smokefree polices in schools and other settings in which children are cared for, including foster families, youth services and the youth offending team
  • Continue to promote smokefree environments, e.g. smokefree playgrounds
  • Use national policy guidance to carefully weigh up the need to deter children from vaping whilst accepting that e-cigarettes are widely considered as much less harmful than tobacco and help many adults to quit
  • Continue to enforce the full range of regulations covering the sale and promotion of tobacco and e-cigarettes
  • Work closely with health services associated with higher and further education settings to enable more students to successfully quit smoking with a level of support appropriate to individual needs.

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