Carers can act as role models in a tobacco-free culture

New guidance, published by the Care Inspectorate earlier this year, requires that all services providing residential care for children and young people create a tobacco-free culture both indoors and outdoors.

The guidance has been produced in response to concerns that children who are looked after in the care system are more likely to smoke. Given the strong links between smoking and poor physical health, financial costs and mental health problems, the new requirements emphasise the corporate parenting responsibility to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of all children in care.

The new guidance extends to electronic cigarettes and reflects the fact that children who grow up in a smoking environment are more likely to smoke themselves. It insists that staff do not smoke in front of young people in their care.

The guidance was developed in conjunction with Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland – the national charity working to reduce the harm and inequality caused by tobacco use – and the Care Inspectorate, with input from its young inspectors who highlighted the issue of peer group pressure on young people to smoke.

Lisa Kirkbride, Senior Inspector, said: “It’s important that care service staff act as role models in promoting a tobacco-free environment and this will be something we will be looking at in our inspections.”

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