Quiet fag is a drag for kids

David Henderson

PUFFING teachers drawing furtively on their Silk Cuts are sending the wrong smoke signals, international researchers warn. Quite frankly, they say, total smoking bans have failed and only dump staff outside for pupils to see.

Schools should provide designated areas until smoke-free environments become the norm, according to the Control of Adolescent Smoking (CAS) project, funded by the European Commission. Its research drew on evidence from eight countries, including Scotland.

Scottish studies have shown that complete bans drive teachers to areas in and around the school where pupils can see them smoking. Bans only work if they are strictly enforced.

Pupils still smoke at school but farther away from the main building, putting them at more risk. "Smoking outside school premises further increases pupils' exposure to similar-aged pupils who smoke," say Lasse Kannas, a Finnish professor, and Bettina Schmidt, a German doctor.

They add: "School seems to be the most common place where 15-year-olds smoke, and exposure to teachers who smoke is common in all countries. Smoking was markedly more common at school than at home, in friends' homes or in public places."

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David Henderson

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