Schools’ Anti-Smoking Policies - A Guide to Stop Smoking

Anti-smoking policies are in force in many public spaces but what about schools?

If you are a parent who is concerned about the effect of smoking on your child’s health then you will find information and advice here about anti-smoking policies in schools.

It’s a good idea to contact your child’s school, or prospective schools to see what anti-smoking policies they have. These policies will vary between schools although the actual wording may not differ that much.

Many young people try smoking whilst at school, usually as a form of experimentation, peer pressure or an act of rebellion. The crafty ‘fag behind the bike sheds’ still goes on even though we are much more aware of the health risks of smoking.

The smoking ban came into force back in 2007 which applies to public spaces and workplaces around the UK although there are a few exceptions. Schools have been designated as non-smoking areas and this also applies to everyone connected with the school, such as teaching assistants, governors, building contractors and visitors.

Schools state that pupils are forbidden to smoke on the premises or on school trips but what about travelling to and from school? Young people who smoke often have a cigarette on their way to school, or on their way home, especially in the company of others so how do you regulate that? Does the school’s anti-smoking policy include a section about smoking to and from school?

If a pupil is seen smoking on their way to school then what action, if any will be taken?

Pupils are not allowed to smoke on school premises but this equally applies to teachers. Teachers are acting in ‘loco parentis’ as well as providing a positive role model so it doesn’t help if they smoke in front of their pupils.

A teacher who punishes a pupil for smoking but is seen to light up a cigarette in front of them may be seen as hypocritical as well as setting a bad example.

A school’s anti-smoking policy should include a description of the policy itself, the list of exclusions and how smoking will be punished. Punishment may include detention, suspension or even exclusion.

If your child is caught smoking then you may be sent a letter asking you to deal with the matter, or to attend a meeting at the school with the head teacher to discuss their smoking.

Contact your child’s school to ask about their anti-smoking policy. You can either make a phone call or write a letter to the head teacher of the school to ask what type of policy they have in place.

For example:

  • Mention about your awareness of peer pressure, teenage rebellion and experimentation.
  • What methods does the school employ to make its pupils aware of the dangers of smoking? Does the school have posters and other forms of media displayed which discuss smoking and its effects? Does the school hold classroom discussions on the effects of smoking?
  • Is smoking forbidden for teachers and other similar personnel?
  • How does the policy work in regard to pupils who are legally able to smoke? (legal age to smoke is 16) Can you enforce this policy on 16 year olds who smoke on their way to and from school?
  • How do you punish pupils who smoke?

If you want to know more about anti-smoking policies in general then visit The Smoking Ban section.

If you are a young person or the parent of a young person and want to know more then visit our Young People and Smoking section.

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