Smoking prevention among youth

We need to congratulate our teachers, parents and Australian governments, because we’re on our way to seeing the first entire generation of non-smokers.

Studies have shown that people who begin smoking early are more likely to continue smoking into adulthood (Tyas & Pederson 1998). The good news? Results from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (2016) indicated a delay in the uptake of smoking, as well as fewer adolescents taking up the habit.   The latest Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) (2016) national survey showed that children’s smoking rates are continuing to plummet.  Read ACOSH’s media release on youth smoking.

The National Drug Strategy

More kids than ever before are showing that they are “Smarter than Smoking.” One of the objectives of the National Drug Strategy 2012–2018 was to prevent the uptake of smoking and contribute to the continued denormalisation of smoking.  Alongside societal change, tobacco education in the classroom is an important part of preventing the uptake of smoking among children and youth.

As long as smoking is a visible act in the media, tobacco education in the classroom plays an important role in preventing smoking among young people.  Smoking prevention has been used as a context for achieving Health and Physical Education Learning Area Outcomes.


Parents teaching their teenage son some life skills about smokingWhat can schools do?

Develop a school smoke free policy

Keep it fresh!   Download the School Drug Education Guidelines for new ways to keep young people safer and encourage a shared commitment to drug education between staff, students and parents. We’ve found guidelines that are developed in consultation with school community members, and are clear and well communicated, are more likely to be implemented and effective.

Get involved in Critics’ Choice 

Everyone likes to have their opinion validated. The Critics’ Choice is a national free resource for schools, teachers and students. Students are encouraged to watch a selection of anti-smoking television commercials and vote for their favourites, including the one most likely to prevent them from taking up smoking or encourage them to stop. All entries go into the draw to win a state prize. (Note: Teachers should view the advertisements prior to use with students to determine their suitability.)

Watch the advertisements and encourage students to vote online.  The activity is a fun and interactive way to teach young people about the negative effects and consequences of smoking.

For more interactive education resources for your school visit