Comment: Get message out early to stop addiction

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PEER pressure at school will be one of the main ways many teenagers fall into the smoking habit.

And while great strides are being made in cutting the number of smokers across the Lothians, stopping that first illicit fag remains crucial.

Today we report how NHS Lothian has borrowed an idea from Wales to use peer pressure in the opposite direction.

By asking pupils to nominate influential classmates as ambassadors for the anti-smoking cause, the project has had huge success in cutting the number taking up the habit with children taking part found to be 20 times less likely to start puffing.

With around ten per cent of 15-year-olds in the Lothians still being tempted to light-up despite all the publicity and endless warnings this has to be worth a try.

After all, it makes perfect sense.

Who are kids more likely to listen to? Some stuffy health board representative preaching about the dangers of smoking, or one of their classmates?

By using, let’s call it the Fonz-factor (recruiting the most popular kid to spread the word), you can see how it’s happy days for the campaign.

Hopefully this approach will be rolled out to all schools and we can see real inroads being made in the number taking up smoking.

Getting the message out early is the best way to prevent addiction later.

Serving up solution

well done to Mark Greenaway for coming to the rescue of the Kirkliston kids who faced being unable to play football because of insurance redtape.

The chef has cooked-up a solution to allow them to meet the bill for opening the leisure centre and is even throwing some nutritional advice into the pot. From a ridiculous no-win situation for the youngsters, he has helped pull off quite a result.