ASH Scotland is calling for the next Scottish Government to abide by the principles of Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation; to help the next generation grow up free from tobacco. Many organisations have already signed up to the Charter and have pledged to play their role in creating a tobacco-free generation. Staff and pupils at Bucksburn Academy campus were proud to endorse Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation – the first school in Grampian to do so.
This move highlights the culmination of the school’s forward-thinking culture, policies and practice in relation to tobacco. The campus goes beyond simply enforcing a no smoking policy; it recognises the duty of the whole school to provide effective education on tobacco and health, encourage teachers and other staff to act as positive role models for pupils. A key feature of the success of this initiative within Bucksburn Community Campus was the identification of a lead member of staff, fully supported by the Head Teacher who has become a true champion for the cause; ensuring that tobacco prevention is a key priority within the campus.
Knowing that two thirds of smokers started before they were 18 we decided that our vision was of a school where it was normal not to smoke. We will strive to give our students an effective education that equips them to make positive choices on tobacco, and a school environment that supports their right to remain free from addiction. Bucksburn Academy will do our bit in creating a smoke-free Scotland” Mr Kas Mohamed, Head Teacher, Bucksburn Academy
To help raise the profile of their tobacco-free vision Bucksburn Academy campus initiated a tobacco awareness week; assemblies themed around smoking and tobacco and plasma screen displays with tobacco messages. The schools also collected benchmark data from staff and pupils to promote the powerful fact that smoking is not the social norm.
Recognising the benefits beyond the school campus funding was allocated from the local Learning Partnership to Bucksburn Academy to assist staff members, pupils and local pharmacies to develop a streamlined pathway to support young people and adults (who identify themselves as being smokers) to stop smoking. Community staff also patrolled school grounds to monitor and facilitate effective implementation of the policy and to offer advice and support.
We know that the environment in which children grow up strongly influences whether or not they are likely to become smokers when they are older. Environments like playgrounds, schools and home that are free from smoke encourage a tobacco-free culture for children to grow-up in, making it less likely they will that they themselves will become smokers when they grow up. By becoming a smoke-free zone Bucksburn Academy Community Campus has created an environment which is protective and promotes health to all students, staff and visitors. By appointing a ‘Champion’ to help maintain the momentum of these positive changes on the campus and involving pupils in the process Bucksburn are highlighting that young people can be confident advocates for tobacco-free spaces. By getting behind the Charter they are helping creating Scotland’s first generation to grow-up free from the harm cause by tobacco.
Connie Bennett, Development Officer
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