Smoking rates continue to rise during the young adult years (so that 19% of 16 – 24 year olds are regular smokers). This is a time of growing responsibility and freedom, with the added pressure of increasing independence. Youth work organisations and youth workers have a vital role to play in supporting and nurturing young people to make healthy life decisions as they make the transition into adulthood, employment, training and further education.
Health behaviours do not exist in isolation, therefore supporting young people to navigate decisions about tobacco needs to also take account of the potential interactions between smoking and other associated issues such as mental wellbeing and physical health, finances and use of substances such as cannabis and alcohol.
We know how important protecting and promoting the health and wellbeing of young people is to the role of any youth worker. This is highlighted in the Code of Ethics for Community Learning and Development as well as Scotland’s National Youth Work Strategy, Curriculum for Excellence and Getting it Right for Every Child.
The Tobacco-free Generation online resource (hosted on the Youthwork Essentials site, run by Youth Scotland) will help youth organisations improve the lives of young people by incorporating smoking with wider health and wellbeing objectives and youth work practice. Tobacco-free Generation provides youth workers with up to date, factual information about smoking and activities designed to help you talk to young people about tobacco issues.
Tobacco-free Generation will:
- help you understand why addressing smoking is important and how it contributes to your existing priorities;
- highlight what you need to know and how you can access further professional development;
- help you feel equipped to have conversations and access FREE resources to deliver activities with young people;
- help you to take action and create a smoke-free environment as the norm at your premises;
- and help you gain recognition for your organisation with Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation.