The vast majority of smokers take up the habit as teenagers and many young people who smoke will continue to smoke for the rest of their lives. The earlier people start, the more likely they are to smoke longer and to die early as a result of smoking.
Kick Ash is a young person led smoking prevention programme running in Schools and Academies throughout Bedfordshire. Young people in Year 10 are recruited to work as Kick Ash mentors to promote their ‘proud to be smokefree’ message. The Kick Ash mentors lead activities in their own schools and their partner middle schools to promote the health harms of smoking. They encourgage and support young people who want to quit and act as smokefree role models, hoping to prevent younger children starting to smoke as they get older.
The volunteers are encouraged to lead on Kick Ash activities to help develop their own confidence and their own awareness so they can make their own informed decisions about smoking and tobacco.
This greater confidence and personal awareness means they are able to support and influence other young people during mentoring activities and their friends in social situations about the importance of being smokefree.
Kick Ash mentors select one of three areas to specialise in, including communications, smoking cessation and Trading Standards.
As part of the communications team, our media stars:
- Lead on designing, promoting and marketing our Kick Ash smokefree message
- Develop our own branding
- Lead on developing our own school launch event
- Are trained to work with the media and to conduct their own interviews
- Are the creative force behind Kick Ash!
As smoking cessation advisors:
- We learn skills to help people who would like to stop smoking
- We develop services within our schools that are most suitable for our own school
- We design and develop information resources for students and parents
- We are shaping young people’s stop smoking services across Bedfordshire
What do Kick Ash Trading Standards Tobacco Controllers do?
- We visit shops with Trading Standards Officers to speak to the manager
- We tell the shop manager all about Kick Ash
- We help Trading Standards Officers give advice to shop managers about not selling tobacco to people aged under 18
- We give shop managers useful materials, such as posters and stickers, to display