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A specialist project dedicated to helping young people stop smoking is being officially launched today in Maryhill. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Yeah Butt No Butts is a direct response to requests from local teenagers who want to kick the habit, and is backed up by its own Bebo page online.
Maryhill MSP Patricia Ferguson is officially opening the pilot Youth Stop Smoking project, which will be based in the Youth Health Service (YHS) at Maryhill Health Centre on Shawpark Street. The YHS has been operating in Maryhill for the last four years, providing holistic interventions to improve the health of young people aged between 12 and 19.
Sarah Neilson, Youth Smoking Cessation Advisor, is hoping Yeah Butt No Butts will make a big difference: "The Youth Stop Smoking pilot will offer intensive support, free of charge and confidentially, for young smokers aged between 12 and 19. All sorts of help will be available, including one to one and group support, access to alternative interventions and other treatments where appropriate. Young people will also have access to stress management sessions and further support from the befriending service.
"Yeah Butt No Butts has come about because more and more of the young people we see at the YHS have said that they'd like help to stop smoking. That showed us there really was a need for this kind of service.
"We want it to be as accessible to young people as possible, so we've created the Yeah Butt No Butts bebo, where teenagers who're more comfortable getting information online can even get advice via the web on where to go for help."
"I welcome the recent increase in the tobacco buying age to 18 and am particularly pleased to support the 'Yeah Butt No Butts' smoking cessation service provided by the Maryhill Youth Health Service"
Glasgow Maryhill MSP Patricia Ferguson said: "I am very anxious to see action taken to tackle the high smoking rate in Maryhill, which is almost the worst in Scotland. Of particular concern to me is the level of under age smoking and the fact that recent figures state that in Maryhill 18% of girls and 12% of boys aged 15 report that they smoke regularly and that 82% of 15 year olds and 47% of 13 year olds who smoke regularly report buying cigarettes from a shop.
Cessation Groups started smoking before they were 16, supporting the need for earlier intervention with teenagers. The initial pilot hopes to target around 50 young smokers by promoting Yeah Butt No Butts within local schools and with organisations working with young people.
Information from adult services indicates that around half the people attending Smoking
In addition to helping local teenagers stop smoking, Sarah Neilson says one of the mains aims behind the Yeah Butt No Butts project is to develop a service specially tailored for teenagers: "There's been lots of research over the years into the sort of things that help adults quit smoking, but young people have very different needs and we want to see what works. One thing we're trying to do is to develop what we call a dependency assessment tool, as the tests used for adults might not be appropriate for young people, who have very different patterns of smoking and also a very different understanding of addiction."
Nationally, a target has been set to reduce the percentage of schoolchildren between the ages of 12 and 15 who smoke to 11% by 2010. National statistics from 2006 (SALSUS 2006) indicate that 18% of 15-year-old girls and 12% of 15-year-old boys are regular smokers.
* A change in the law that came into force on October 1st this year means that only people aged 18 and over are legally allowed to buy cigarettes.
* Recent changes to licensing laws mean that Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products such as patches can be used to help anyone over the age of 12 who is addicted to cigarettes. This is subject to assessment by a GP as to whether the young person is dependent on nicotine.
* Young people looking for help to stop smoking can call 0141 232 8102, or go online to http://www.bebo.com/YB-NB and click on "add to friends".
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.