Creating a smokefree school culture

Supporting the health and wellbeing of your staff, students and community.

Creating a smokefree school culture

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Protective Factors

These protective factors help students to stay smokefree and able to meet other challenges in life:

  • Supportive schools – having smokefree staff, and clear and consistently applied smokefree rules; and working with the community to communicate the protective factors to them.
  • Smokefree being seen as the norm and is socially acceptable.
  • Supportive families/whānau who are smokefree at home and support positive, healthy lifestyles.
  • School policies and procedures that reflect the school’s commitment to having a smokefree environment.  These procedures are communicated with the staff, students and their whānau, and consistently enforced. 
  • Personal resilience.

Read more about protective factors either in English or Te Reo Māori.

Benefits of smokefree staff

Staff are important role models to the students and smokefree staff increase the likelihood of students staying smokefree.

Students need protection from second-hand and third-hand smoke from staff who smoke. The toxic chemicals from cigarettes go everywhere.  They are breathed in and absorbed into clothing and even on skin – and they stay there for a long time. This can be an irritant, is linked to poorer health and is particularly bad for children.

There are many benefits of having smokefree staff. Smokefree staff are healthier workers and have fewer sick days – smokers tend to stay sicker for longer and take about three times more sick days as non-smokers.

You can find more information about quitting smoking here

For ideas on how you can help your staff to quit smoking and create a smokefree workplace, see Wellplace

Supporting students to be smokefree

Smoking is an addiction which often begins when students are still in school. The younger people start smoking, the harder it is for them to quit and the worse their health outcomes.

You can find out more about smoking rates for youth and young adults on our facts and figures page.

Schools can help students to quit by:

  • creating a supportive physical and social environment in the school where being smokefree is about having fun;
  • treating smoking as a health issue rather than a disciplinary issue;
  • offering stop smoking interventions that are appropriate to them;
  • Offer face-to-face support for people who need help to quit or call the Quitline on 0800 778 778.

Encourage students to participate in events like Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Tangata Beats. These nationwide, original live-music events are for secondary school students and provide opportunities to showcase musical talent in their regions. These events help to connect young people to their peers, music teachers, positive adult role models, and family.  

Page last updated: 12 Aug 2021