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Helping young to kick habit.

Smokers as young as 14 are to be given nicotine patches in an attempt to reduce cancer rates.

The two-year project has been given pounds 180,000 from the Lottery's New Opportunities Fund and will see young smokers offered the patches or gum through schools and youth groups.

The scheme will also train school pupils to encourage their friends to give up and to refer others who may need to be given nicotine replacement therapy to help them quit.

It is being piloted in Lanarkshire, which has one of the worst smoking-related death rates in Britain.

David Craig, quality improvement officer for health education in North Lanarkshire, said: 'Although this joint project with the local health care co-operatives is very much in its infancy, we fully expect it to be successful in helping pupils to quit.

'The youth smoking cessation co-ordinators will also provide information to pupils who don't smoke of the dangers of smoking and why they shouldn't start.

'This is only one of many health-related topics that are available to pupils in North Lanarkshire schools under the Health Promoting Schools initiative which we hope will improve the health of our young people.'

If successful, the project may be rolled out in other areas of the UK.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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