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Cornwall's Primary School Smokers Revealed

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6:01am 13th September 2013

Pirate FM has learnt Cornish children as young as ten years old are taking up smoking.

Stats from Cancer Research UK reveal more than 1,200 children between ten and fourteen are lighting up regularly in the Duchy.

That means they smoke once a week or more.

Experts warn they are doing damage from the very first puff - and are increasing their chances of carrying on with the habit as they grow up.

Andrea Dickens from Smoke Free South West said: "Although it's something that young people think they can start and then stop whenever they want to, it takes very few cigarettes before you're hooked on nicotine. Then it's a lifetime addiction ahead of you - the expense and all the health problems that will result later in life.

"One of the things we found most effective is peer-led intervention. The young people themselves go back and talk to their fellow youngsters in the class about smoking, the issues and why they're being drawn into it.

"It isn't seen as adults preaching to children."

Liskeard mum Judy said: "We've just openly talked about the pros and cons as a family. Highlighted the downside really and the benefits of not smoking."

What can you do if your child has started smoking?

Experts say talking to teenagers about smoking can be tricky. Read these tips if your child is smoking and you want to try to help them quit.

  • If you smoke yourself, give up. It will help if you can set a good example.
  • Don't panic or overreact. If you are very worried you may want to talk to another adult before talking to your child.
  • Choose a time to talk to your child when you’re calm and they don’t want to be somewhere else.
  • Ask lots of open questions to find out how they started smoking, how often they smoke, who they smoke with etc. Be     aware that starting conversations with ‘why’ can seem aggressive.
  • Make sure you really listen to what your child is saying.
  • Explain that its better never to start smoking as it quickly leads to addiction.
  • Point out how expensive smoking is and discuss what else your child could do with the money.
  • You can try discussing the health effects of smoking. But young people will often have learnt about the consequences of  smoking at school and may not want to think about their long-term
  • Keep talking about smoking from time to time in a non-confrontational manner. At the same time make it clear that you do have your own views and house
  • Offer your love and support. Focus on the positives and try to build your child’s self esteem. Acknowledge any progress they make with giving up.
  • Giving up isn’t easy for adults or children. Be aware of the difficulties your child may be facing and the isolation they may feel if all their friends are smoking.
6:01am 13th September 2013

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