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Innovative peer programme to reduce smoking among borough’s youngsters

Press release   •   May 09, 2014 11:52 BST

Rochdale Borough Council’s efforts to reduce inequality in health and advise young people of the health risks associated with smoking have continued with the introduction of a Peer Supporters programme for local students.

The Public Protection Service is running an innovative, peer-led intervention in schools called DECIPHer-ASSIST (Development and Evaluation of Clinical Intervention for Public Health Research – A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial).

Leader of Rochdale Borough Council and Lead Member for Health, Councillor Colin Lambert said: “It is crucial that we innovate and evolve in our efforts to prevent young people from starting smoking and even more important they themselves are involved in tackling the issue.

“The DECIPHer-ASSIST programme is innovative and young people are central to it achieving its goals, so I am confident it will prove successful.”

The programme is proven to reduce smoking in adolescents by training influential children in year 8, who are identified by their peers, to become Peer Supporters.

Research has shown that smoking among young people is a group activity and that one of the best predictors of a young person taking up smoking is the smoking behavior of their peers.

The programme will aim to stop youngsters starting or continuing to smoke by identifying and training students and peer supporters to hold informal conversations with friends about the risks of smoking and the benefits of being smoke-free.

If any secondary schools in the borough require further information on the project, please contact Ve Nutter of Rochdale Borough Council’s Public Protection Team: 01706 924187

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