To nurture the skills of resilience is key to providing young people with the ability to cope with stress, adversity, failure and challenges. Resilience is evident when young people have a greater ability to “bounce back” when faced with difficulties and achieve positive outcomes.

Resilience is required to say “NO” to the offer of a cigarette or to smoke and vape and to withstand the pressure to conform to a group image.

Over 90% of 15 year olds in England and across Cambridgeshire recognise that other people’s smoking can harm the health of non-smokers, although this percentage is lower in Peterborough.

In Cambridgeshire 1% of boys and girls in year 8 define themselves as regular smokers

In Cambridgshire 6% of boys and 8% of girls in year 10 define themselves as regular smokers

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are much more likely to be born to mothers who smoke, and to suffer greater exposure to second-hand smoke as they grow up. They are also more likely to grow up with family members and friends who smoke

Cambridgeshire’s smoking prevalence at age 15 is in line with the England average of 8.2%, however, Peterborough is higher at 9.1%.

Cambridgeshire Peterborough East of England England
Smoking prevalence at age 15 – current smokers (WAY survey) 2014/15 8.2% 9.1% 8.9% 8.2%


Effective interventions include tackling illegal sales, targeted campaigns and improving education about the harms of tobacco.

  • Develop a whole-school or organisation-wide smoke free policy in consultation with young people and staff.
  • Develop a policy that forms part of the wider healthy school strategy on wellbeing, sex and relationships education, drug education and behaviour.
  • Apply the policy to everyone using the premises (grounds as well as buildings), for any purpose, at any time. Do not allow any areas in the grounds to be designated for smoking (with the exception of caretakers’ homes, as specified by law).
  • Widely publicise the policy and ensure it is easily accessible so that everyone using the premises is aware of its content.
  • Ensure the policy supports smoking cessation in addition to prevention, by making information easily available to staff and students.
  • Access local support services – KickAsh in Cambridgeshire and Operation Smoke Storm in Peterborough

Most smokers start in adolescence during their school years. Smoking remains the single most preventable cause of premature death and ill health in society. Schools have an important role to play in the prevention of smoking amongst pupils and providing a safe environment, free from second hand smoke. In addition, smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes represent a health and safety issue for schools.

By the end of primary school pupils should know:

  • The facts about legal and illegal harmful substances and associated risks, including smoking, alcohol use, and drug taking.

By the end of secondary school pupils should know:

  • The facts about legal substances and illegal substances, including drug-taking, and the associated risks, including the link to serious mental health conditions.
  • The facts about the harms from smoking tobacco (particularly the link to lung cancer), the benefits of stopping smoking and how to access support to do so.