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6.1 Smoking and Alcohol


The Health and Well-being Standard


Transporting Children


Smokefree – NHS

Electronic Cigarettes – NHS

Drinkaware – NHS


In August 2018, this chapter was extensively updated and should be read throughout.


1. Smoking
  1.1 E-cigarettes/Vapes
2. Alcohol

1. Smoking

Staff and visitors are not permitted to smoke in front of children. Homes may designate an area, where staff may smoke.

It is an offence for shops to sell cigarettes and tobacco product to under 18s or for an adult to cigarettes or tobacco products for them.

Some children may already smoke when they are placed in the home. You should support and encourage such young people to reduce or stop smoking. Support is available from the Looked After Children’s Nurse or the young person’s GP. This should be discussed with the child/young person’s social worker and addressed as part of the young person’s Health Plan.

Staff are not permitted to purchase or give cigarettes, tobacco, or the materials for making or lighting cigarettes or tobacco to children.

1.1 E-cigarettes/Vapes

”The use of e-cigarettes among young people is rare and is almost entirely confined to those young people who already smoke”.

See Public Health England - Independent Expert E-cigarettes Evidence Review.

It is an offence for shops to sell e-cigarettes to under 18s or for an adult to buy e-cigarettes for them.

The long term effects of vaping / E-cigarettes on health are unknown, but current research indicates that their use is significantly less harmful than conventional smoking, and that the use of e-cigarettes is currently the most popular tool used by smokers who want to quit.

However, if a young person indicates that they would like to try e-cigarettes as a way of giving up smoking, they should be encouraged to contact the LAC Nurse, their GP or local stop smoking services which are recommended by Public Health England as the most effective way to stop smoking.

For more information please see Electronic Cigarettes - Evidence and Advice on E-cigarettes (GOV.UK).

2. Alcohol

All homes should be alcohol free zones; alcohol should not be brought or kept on the premises and children should not normally be taken into licensed premises, unless it is part of a clear plan leading toward independence or a special occasion; e.g. Christmas. In any case, children may not be allowed to purchase or consume alcohol.

If staff are concerned that a child/young person has been drinking alcohol, this should be raised with the home’s manager and the child’s social worker as required. Where it becomes evident, or it is suspected, that a child or young person has been drinking alcohol, the most appropriate response will vary dependent on how much the young person has had to drink or how it has effected them. These options are outlined below:

  • Offering fluids - water, squash;
  • Periodic monitoring and checks by staff - 10 minutes, 30 minutes, hourly, etc.
  • Contacting health professionals for advice e.g. G.P.
  • Hospitalisation for day patient or overnight stay if appropriate, etc.

See Alcohol, young people and the law (GOV.UK).

Staff are not permitted to consume alcohol whilst on duty and should not arrive at work under the influence of alcohol.