Kick Ash

What is Kick Ash?
Kick Ash is Cambridgeshire’s youth smoking prevention programme. It was first set up as a pilot in one secondary school in 2009 and since that date 10 secondary schools have been involved and over 1000 mentors from Year 10 have been trained to support the delivery of the workshop sessions to Year 6 pupils in the partner primary schools.
Kick Ash is the first programme of its kind to support delivery of bespoke PSHE units of work in regard to smoking and relationships whilst exploring the factors that govern risk decision making in young people and the reasons they have for smoking as well as being smoke free.

Of the total number of adult smokers, it is reported that more than 80% started smoking as a teenager and 40% started smoking regularly before the age of 16.
In fact data from the most recent Health Related Behaviour Survey for Cambridgeshire (2018) indicates that whilst 2% of Year 8 pupils are regular (weekly) smokers this rises to 8% in Year 10. Furthermore 18% of Year 10 boys and 24% of Year 10 girls reported that they were either currently smoking or had done so in the past. It is therefore crucial to engage with young people about smoking at this time in their education.



Frequently Asked Questions
Kick Ash mentors Job desc -person spec 2019
The role of the Kick Ash mentor

Kick Ash in more detail for Secondary Schools
Programme Aims
The overarching aim of Kick Ash is to reduce the increase in smoking levels between the ages of 13 and 15 and the programme therefore seeks to:
• Encourage all young people to be proud to be smoke free.
• Discourage young people from starting to smoke.
• Support those who want to quit smoking through the provision of a youth friendly stop smoking service.
• Prevent under age tobacco sales.

Kick Ash is based on a framework of peer mentorship, with the focus being on a programme led by young people for young people. The Year 10 mentors are equipped, through practical workshops, to understand the key aspects of smoking control and are given specific training to acquire the skills and confidence to fulfil their roles in supporting their peers and endorsing the message that all young people should be proud to be smoke free.

The key principles of Kick Ash are:
• It places young people at the heart of the programme.
• It ensures that the student volunteers who are involved in the programme are from a range of social groups.
• It provides the students (mentors) with a framework of support.
• It is delivered in line with current NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) best practice guidance.
Programme Content
The main components of the work focus on:
• Analysing and investigating the different motivations young people have for starting smoking and taking risks with their health.
• Using the smoking behaviour data from the Health Related Survey for Cambridgeshire to identify the lifestyles and attitudes of young people who choose to smoke.
• Drawing conclusions about the typical experiences of smokers contrasted with non-smokers.
• Identifying hidden messages embedded in advertising which persuade people to smoke.
• Examining the facts about e-cigarettes – who would vape and why.
• Finding out about age-restricted products as well as the measures in place to prevent under-age sales.
• Exploring the support available locally for those who have started smoking and wish to stop.
• Evaluating and reviewing the effectiveness of the programme through student and teacher feedback.
• Participating in the Health Related Behaviour Survey to support development.


Kick Ash in more detail for Primary Schools
How does Kick Ash work in the Primary School?
Participating Primary Schools agree to:
• Undertake a simple preparatory draw and write exercise with Year 6 pupils to gauge the awareness they have of teenage and older smokers and non-smokers.
• Dedicate a 90 minute afternoon session for each Year 6 class, led by Everyone Health and Kick Ash mentors
• Host a parent drop in session following the mentors’ visit
• Conduct a follow up exercise/evaluation for pupils and staff

Workshop content:
The main components of the work focus on:
• Exploring the pupils’ ideas of smokers and non-smokers in regard to both physical and behavioural traits.
• Investigating the concept of “peer pressure” as well as “peer influence” in relation to friendship groups.
• Identifying reasons for why young people may choose to smoke when they know the associated health risks.
• Identifying reasons for why young people who start smoking decide to stop.
• Examining the positive and negative images of smoking and the motivation for such contrasting images.
• Providing opportunities for reflection in regard to personal pulls towards and pushes away from smoking.

Unlike traditional youth smoking prevention programmes that focus on information giving, Kick Ash adopts a multi-faceted approach to addressing the complex range of individual, social and environmental factors that determine smoking decisions. It also recognises that peers are a significant influence on smoking behaviour and the attitudes towards it.


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