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Launch of new service to help young people quit smoking 17 January 2008

As part of an ongoing campaign to prepare the people of the Isle of Man for implementation of the Public Smoking Ban on the 30th March, the Department of Health and Social Security, with support from the Department of Education, is launching a new service to assist young people who would like to stop smoking.

Hon W E Teare MHK, Minister for Health and Social Security said,

“In an ideal world, there would be no need for this service. However, in reality, nicotine addiction caused by smoking, does affect young people. It is vital that Government works to help these young people quit smoking now – before they spend a lifetime addicted to cigarettes.

Minister Teare added,

“This service provides young people with easy and confidential access to advice about quitting and where appropriate, offers Nicotine Replacement Therapy. I urge any young people wishing to quit, but feels there is no one to help them, to use this service.

Hon Anne Craine, MHK, Minister for Education stated:

“I welcome this initiative which is being offered to young people to help them to stop smoking. It is easy to start the habit, but not so easy to stop and many teenagers want to kick the habit, but find themselves to be addicted. Besides potentially damaging their health they have no money to spare for clothes or going out because their spare cash is spent on cigarettes. We have to recognise that they need support and encouragement to break the habit and I am pleased that together with the Department of Health and Social Security, we can provide that help through a stop smoking service in our schools.”

The service will be offered by School Nurses in each of the five Secondary Schools, and also by some Youth and Community Workers, who are trained Stop Smoking Advisors. A Quit4You drop-in clinic is also available for students at the Isle of Man College. The initiative is part of the Island’s ‘Quit4You’ service developed by the Public Health Directorate.

The average age for young people in the Isle of Man to smoke their first cigarette is 11 years, and by 14/15 years, 20% smoke daily. Before developing this new initiative, the Youth and Community Service ran focus groups with young people who smoke to find out their views about what they think would help them quit. Many mentioned Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and how expensive it is to purchase. They felt that they would like to try Nicotine Replacement Therapy if it was provided by someone they trusted, and they stressed the importance of confidentiality.

The new service will offer young people confidential advice and regular support to help them quit. Depending on their smoking patterns and level of nicotine dependence, School Nurses will also be able to provide students with free Nicotine Replacement Therapy if assessed as suitable. This will include products such as nicotine patches, inhalators or lozenges. A strict protocol has been approved for the supply of any of these products, and has received the full support of both the Department of Health and Social Security, and the Department of Education.

Students from the Isle of Man College’s Multi Media Department designed local posters which will be used to advertise the new service in schools and the College. The posters were designed as part of the Choice Campaign and the chosen designs were voted the top two by young smokers. Young people who attend the Castletown Youth and Community Centre also voted for their favourite UK produced posters about smoking, which will also be used as part of the campaign to promote quitting.

Quit4You also offers a range of free services around the Island for anyone who wants to stop smoking, including one-to-one appointments, drop-in clinics, sessions in workplaces, vouchers for Nicotine Replacement Therapy and specialist help for pregnant women (Quit4Two). For further information, log onto www.Quit4You.gov.im or telephone Public Health on 642693.

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