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Nicotine patches for 12-year-old smokers


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Nicotine patches for 12-year-old smokers

Yahoo! News

Wed Dec 21, 1:26 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) -Schoolchildren as young as 12 are to be offered nicotine patches to help them kick the habit, according to health officials.

"It does not take long for young people to be addicted to nicotine," Iain Miller, a smoking cessation adviser with local healthcare provider Derwentside Primary Care Trust (PCT) in northeast England, said Tuesday.

The PCT has teamed up with the Government's Sure Start scheme -- which aims to improve the health of the nation's children -- to provide patches to 12- to 17-year-olds at six schools.

The nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is to be used alongside advice and support from school nurses and young people's workers.

Derwentside, a former industrial area built on the steel and coal industry, reflects the trend in the northeast with higher than average levels of smokers, according to Sure Start officials.

Seven percent of boys and 10 percent of girls aged 11 to 15 smoke, national statistics suggest. Almost a quarter of 16- to 19-year-olds smoke, figures show.

Miller said NRT may not be appropriate for all young people but following a course could double their chances of quitting, with the success rate rising four-fold if coupled with support and advice.

"By the time they have overcome the spluttering start to smoking and learned to smoke three full cigarettes, inhaling the smoke properly, they can be displaying the key signs of addiction," he added.

"Young people deserve the same opportunities to break their addiction as older people do."

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