Smoking and tobacco

Advice on smoking lessons and topics for schools.

Advice on smoking lessons and topics for schools.

Smoking is responsible for 80,000 deaths a year in the UK. Smoking rates in young people is low, around 8 per cent, but in Oxfordshire it is just over 10 per cent, for 15 year olds. Two thirds of smokers started before they were 18 years old (2016). 

Guidance outlines some responsibilities for schools and this includes  

  • Having a well publicised Smoke Free school policy 
  • Using PHSE to cover the topic of preventing children from smoking. Including smoking in the mainstream curriculum, such as biology. 
  • Specific events or speakers/talks about smoking and the impacts on health. 
  • Directing adults to local stop smoking services, where free support is available to help people stop smoking. 

Oxfordshire has a Smokefree Strategy to achieve a smoking prevalence of less than 5% by 2025.  Within that ambition there is a target to reduce the prevalence of smoking at age 15 below 3%.

Smoke free schools

When writing or refreshing your schools smokefree school policy or your School Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) the following may be useful.

Statistics on smoking  


  • Free to hire educational aids – there are a variety of educational aids, from “Jar of Tar” to Carbon Monoxide monitors.   
  • School Health Nurses – are aware of and some can provide support to help pupils to stop smoking as well as refer parents and teachers to local stop smoking services. 
  • Drago the Dragon– Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue may also be able attend your school to talk about smoking, e-mail them and ask. 

National campaigns

There are several times during the year when stopping smoking is encouraged:

  • March – No Smoking Day 
  • May - World No Tobacco Day 
  • October – Stoptober 

E-Cigarettes – for latest advice on the safety of e-cigarettes (excluding product safety) 

Smoking survey – contact Public Health to ask about carrying out a smoking rate survey in your school. 

Other ideas