Anti-smoking lessons for nine-year-olds

PUBLISHED: 07:15 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 24 May 2010

CHILDREN as young as eight are being taught the dangers of smoking in an attempt to reduce antisocial behaviour in Weston. Police officers have visited two primary schools on the Bournville estate to give an anti-smoking talk. The talks are usually given

CHILDREN as young as eight are being taught the dangers of smoking in an attempt to reduce antisocial behaviour in Weston.Police officers have visited two primary schools on the Bournville estate to give an anti-smoking talk.The talks are usually given to secondary schools, but officers believe the youngsters at Bournville Junior and Windwhistle Primary would benefit from the class.The anti-smoking message is being given to children aged between nine and 11, but teachers are including some pupils aged eight who have experimented with tobacco.Officers believe that smoking can lead to other antisocial crimes such as under-age drinking and loutish behaviour. Windwhistle Primary headteacher Lyn Hunt said: "All the children know the officers really well as they're out and about on the estate all the time."The pupils respect them and anything they tell them they believe, so it's very effective when they give the talk."Some children have tried smoking with cigarettes and it's not good for them. The officers sit down with them and explain that it's damaging for their health."Officers received specific training on how to give the talks at Avon and Somerset Police's headquarters in Portishead.Police Community Support Officer Claire Sketchley said: "We run the talks because it's to do with antisocial behaviour."If you have groups of children smoking and drinking on street corners then it's going to lead to other nuisance crimes."Quite a few of the children said that they had tried smoking when we did the talk so we're targeting the right age group.""The children can also feel pressured into smoking from older children in groups and we want to tell them the dangers to their health.

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