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Free help for teenagers to quit vaping

Published Wednesday, 28 September 2022

A rise in teenagers vaping and smoking in York is being tackled head on by City of York Council, which is launching a new campaign to offer free support.

Targeted at York secondary schools and sixth forms students, which includes young people aged 12 to 17., the campaign takes place for 3 months, starting in October, during the national stop smoking campaign Stoptober.

A recent NHS Digital national campaign (NHS Digital) surveyed around 10,000 school pupils aged 11 to 15 years of age, which showed a decrease in numbers of school children taking drugs and smoking cigarettes. However, there was a rise in vaping, with 9% of 11 to 15 year olds currently using e-cigarettes.

Closer to home, the council surveyed 4,267 children and young people from across 37 schools, as part of its York Schools Survey (Health York - York School Report.pdf). This survey happened between October 2021 and January 2022.

The results represented 63% of all children and young people in the selected year groups.

Of those surveyed:

  • 19% of secondary and sixth form pupils had used an e-cigarette and 10% had used conventional cigarettes
  • 26% of year 12 pupils have tried or used cigarettes
  • 52% of year 12 pupils do not know where to get help to stop smoking
  • 12% of pupils said they wanted help to stop smoking, this rises significantly to 44% in year 12

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care at City of York Council, said:

This is a big issue nationally, not just York. But we hope that by raising awareness of where to get help through the Health Trainer team, more young people will seek help to quit vaping or smoking for good.

Peter Roderick, Consultant for Public Health, said:

Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK. Every year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking, with many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses. As consumer products, cigarettes kill 1 in every 2 users.

“As soon as 48 hours after quitting smoking, your sense of taste and smell is already improving. Within 2 weeks, blood pumps better through your heart. After 3 months coughing, wheezing or breathing problems will improve as your lung function increases by up to 10 per cent” (Better Health/NHS).

Cigarette use in young people causes short of breath and reduced physical stamina in the short term, and in the long term reduces lung growth and leads to early cardiovascular damage (American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention .pdf).

Daniel Furniss, Deputy Headteacher – Care, Support and Communication, at Archbishop Holgate’s School, said:

I know that many schools, including ours, are educating pupils on the dangers of vaping and smoking, however, the ease of buying e-cigs is not helping the issue, nor is the pretty way in which they are packaged.

"We urge pupils across the city to take up this free support and for parents and carers to talk to their children, to help raise awareness about the health risks and dangers.

“Together we can really try and get on top of this and make a big difference in York’s secondary schools.”

Getting help is easy, just complete the CYC Health Trainers online form and a health trainer will be in touch. Or, message us by telephone: 07789 946 384 (please seek permission from your parent/carer or bill payer). Alternatively, you can email:

The team can offer free patches, gum and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). E-cigarettes cannot be offered to under 18s. The sale of e-cigarettes is regulated in the same way as sale of conventional cigarettes.

With a sharp rise in the number of children vaping, the Department for Health and Social Care has requested that schools review their vaping policies, paying particular attention to the new guidance from Action on Smoking and Health.

Vaping is to help people quit smoking and should not be used by people under 18 or non-smokers – particularly as the long-term harms are unknown.

Read additional guidance for for schools released by Action on Smoking and Health.