Smoking and Alcohol


The Health and Well-being Standard


Smokefree – NHS

Electronic cigarettes – NHS



This chapter was refreshed in May 2024.


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 have a designated area, where staff may smoke.

Staff should ensure that young people are educated about smoking. It is accepted that the more that young people know, the more likely they are to make good decisions about how to deal with smoking, drinking and the misuse of drugs / substances. Good communication ensures the right messages and information are passed on.

Some children/young people may already smoke before they are placed in their 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.

See: Rules about Tobacco, E-Cigarettes and Smoking (GOV.UK).

1.1 E-cigarettes/Vapes

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 it should be regarded as potentially harmful to health in the same way as smoking.

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.

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 on a special occasion; e.g. Christmas. In any case, children will not be allowed to purchase or consume alcohol.

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

Staff should ensure that children/young people are educated about alcohol and its effects.

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).

Please also refer to Benecare’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policy.