Smoking and Alcohol


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

1. Smoking

The home should ensure that children are provided with advice and support on good health. This information should supplement that provided by any educational setting, and should cover smoking and alcohol.

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

Some children may already smoke when they are placed in the home. They should be  supported and encouraged to reduce or stop smoking. Support is available from the Designated Nurse Children Looked After, their GP or Leeds Stop Smoking Service. This should be discussed with the child/young person’s social worker and addressed as part of the young person’s Individual Health Care Plan.

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

Staff and visitors are not permitted to smoke in front of children.

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 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 Designated Nurse Children Looked After, their GP or Leeds Stop Smoking Service.

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.

Health promotion should address the effects of alcohol and provide the children with an informed view on the subject.

If staff are concerned that a child/young person has been drinking alcohol, this should be raised with the Registered Children’s Homes Manager and their 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. If this happens the relevant procedures will be followed.