Department of Health and Social Care
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

New “Smokefree Generation” want parents to quit

A new ‘Smokefree Generation’ of children say that they will never try a cigarette, think that smoking is really uncool and are increasingly worried about the health of smoking parents according to new research conducted on behalf of NHS Stop Smoking Services.

The research, which polled 1,000 children in England aged 8-13, coincides with the launch of a powerful new Department of Health advertising campaign aimed at getting loved ones to stop smoking. It features real children, not actors, talking about how concerned they are about their parents’ smoking.

Gillian Merron, Public Health Minister said:

“We understand how difficult it is to stop smoking. I hope this new campaign will give mums and dads the encouragement they need to realise they can do it with help from the NHS, and support from their children.

“You are four times more likely to quit if you use the free NHS stop smoking service. The facts are clear – every week 2,000 people die from smoking-related diseases, which has a devastating effect on children’s lives.”

Key findings include:

·        Almost all (96%) children with a smoking parent wish that they would quit.
·        Nine out of 10 children surveyed have never tried a cigarette, with 91% of these believing that they will never try one.
·        Nearly two-thirds (64%) of children whose parents smoke would rather their parents quit smoking than give them more pocket money.
·        More than 9 out of 10 children think that older people who smoke don’t look cool.
·        One in 4 children (27%) believe that smoking could be extinct by 2030.

This emerging picture of the first ‘Smokefree Generation’ is backed up by the latest Information Centre statistics on tobacco which show that regular smoking among 11 to 15 year olds has halved since its peak in the mid 1990s.  

The majority of  children are clear on the risks of smoking, with nine out of 10 (87%) children polled believing that people smoking around them is damaging to their health, and three quarters (76%) recognising that it increases the likelihood of developing cancer.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) said:

“These powerful new adverts are about tapping into emotions that children of smoking parents are experiencing on a day to day basis. This campaign gives smokers a clear incentive as to why they should quit and a clear guide as to how they should do so – using free local NHS support.”

Children are increasingly worried about the impact smoking has on family life, with four out of 10  indicating they have at least one parent who smoke, with half (51%) doing so in the home and a third (35%) doing so in the car. A further three quarters (76%) of children whose parents smoke in the car are concerned about damage to their health.

Children polled felt that the main benefit to being brought up in a smokefree environment was the improved health of the family (84%), a more pleasant living environment (71%) and improved family finances (69%).

Kath Luxton, Local NHS Stop Smoking Adviser from West Sussex PCT said:

We work with lots of families to help parents stop smoking in a way that suits them best. This could be one-to-one sessions at a time or place that suits, group sessions for moral support or prescribing nicotine replacement to help them through those tough first few weeks. All our families who’ve been successful tell us that our help and support was invaluable in helping them give up smoking for good”

For help quitting, call the NHS helpline on 0800 066 5826 or visit

Notes to editors

1. Example of the new advertising campaign:
Molly from Hammersmith in London, said:
“Hi mum, I know you’re watching Coronation Street.  I don’t want you to smoke because I don’t want you to go through what your mum went through. Because it will just make me really, really sad and because I don’t want you to die.
“I don’t know what I would do without you.”
Voiceover: Your smoking affects your loved ones more than you think. For help quitting, call 0800 121 6383 or visit

2. An Mpeg video of the new adverts, a set of still images and high quality Jpegs of the new poster campaign are available for download at:
a. Still advert images:
b. Full advert:

This video is in an MPEG-1 format, which should be compatible with a wide range of media players, such as Windows Media Player and Realplayer.
Alternatively we can send you a straightforward attachment of 5MB – please contact Blue Rubicon on 020 7260 2766

3. Case studies of teenagers and their parents as well as stop smoking advisers are also available for interview - please contact Blue Rubicon on 020 7260 2700 for these or any other media enquiries.

4. NHS Smokefree factsheet: Quitting
• Three-quarters of smokers (74%) say they would like to quit if they could. Key statistics include:
• 58% of smokers say that they intend to quit in the next 12 months.
• 86% of smokers cite at least one health reason for why they want to quit.
• 60% of current smokers have  made a series attempt to quit in the past five years
• 53% of smokers have sought some kind of help or advice for quitting smoking.
• 87% of people who have attempted to stop smoking in the last year would like to stop smoking
• Heavy smokers are more likely to have tried to stop smoking (87%)
• 55 %of smokers said that someone had asked them to stop smoking - this tended to be a partner (22%), son or daughter (17%) or a parent (16%)
• Women were more likely than men to say that their children were asking them to quit (22% and 13% respectively)
• Only 7% of smokers who had previously managed to stop smoking, had quit for two years or more, while 72% had only managed to quit for six months or less.

5. Telephone numbers for NHS Stop Smoking Support:
• NHS Smoking Helpline (0800 169 0 169)
• NHS Pregnancy Smoking Helpline (0800 169 9 169)
• NHS Asian Tobacco Helpline
• Urdu - 0800 169 0 881
• Punjabi - 0800 169 0 882
• Hindi - 0800 169 0 883
• Gujarati - 0800 169 0 884
• Bengali - 0800 169 0 885

6. NHS Smokefree factsheet: Top 10 tips for a successful quit attempt

Research shows smokers are up to four times more likely to stop smoking successfully if they get support from their local NHS Stop Smoking Service and Nicotine Replacement Therapy, compared with relying on willpower alone.
The NHS Smokefree campaign suggests the following top ten tips to help smokers on their path to become smokefree:

1. Order a free DVD from 0800 169 0 169 to find out about the full range of NHS support available to help you quit.
2. Get support from trained NHS advisers who can help you to understand your addiction and how to beat it.
3. Identify your smoking triggers and plan ahead. Try the Addiction Test at
4. Use nicotine replacement products or other stop smoking medicines to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. These are available on prescription from the NHS.
5. Sign up for free text and email alerts from the Together Programme with motivational tips and advice to keep you on track.
6. Avoid situations where you might be tempted to smoke again. Plan ahead to cope with the hard times.
7. Note how much cash you’re saving. Work out how long it will take you to save for your dream purchase by using the calculator on
8. Use a carbon monoxide monitor to see for yourself how quickly your body recovers once you stop smoking. Local NHS Stop Smoking Services offer carbon monoxide monitoring as part of their stop smoking programmes.
9. Chuck out your ashtrays, matches and lighters and anything else you needed to smoke. Put potpourri where your ashtrays used to be – your home will smell fresher in no time at all.
10. But most importantly, take it one day at a time and reward yourself every day.


NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department

COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTIONS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR 8x8 Can Modernise Your Communications: Unify voice, video, chat and contact centre, find out how here