NHS blasted for ‘wasting’ £400,000 on ‘failed’ anti-cigarettes class for kids that demonised fag-flogging firms

The Sun is reporting that almost £400,000 was “wasted” on failed anti-smoking lessons for kids.

Operation Smoke Storm involved kids role-playing as secret agents infiltrating an imaginary cigarette firm called R.I.Payne. It sought to copy a successful American campaign by teaching kids about the “unethical and manipulative tactics used by the tobacco industry in persuading young people to use an addictive yet deadly product”.

But in a major embarrassment, a review of a pilot study by medical journal The Lancet found it flopped.

After comparing the results from two schools which tried the lessons against others which did not, academics said: “Operation Smoke Storm does not seem to have reduced smoking and susceptibility to smoking among students aged 12-13 in two UK schools.”

Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This is a ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money. It’s yet another example of a fortune being spent on expensive schemes that yield no result.”

But the NHS National Institute for Health Research, which is funded by the Department of Health, defended the dud project. A spokesman said: “Stopping children taking up smoking is one of the most important public health priorities.”

More at: NHS blasted for ‘wasting’ £400,000 on ‘failed’ anti-cigarettes class for kids that demonised fag-flogging firms

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Comments

  1. ChallenDr

    SchoolsImprove Just yet another example of throwing money at something is not the answer getting to the core of the problem is!!

  2. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove Culture beats programmes every time. The trick is to change the culture by changing the relationships in the organisation

  3. Can’t find a recent Lancet report re Operation Smoke Storm.  The most recent (13 November 2015) wasn’t positive although makes it clear research is ongoing:
    ‘Operation Smoke Storm does not seem to have reduced smoking and susceptibility to smoking among students aged 12–13 years in two UK schools. Qualitative analysis is ongoing to explore students’ and teachers’ perceptions of Operation Smoke Storm and potential reasons to explain the apparent lack of effectiveness.’
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)00908-3/abstract

    It’s unclear where the Sun got its £400k figure from.  Nor is it clear the money comes solely from the NHS.  Operation Smoke Storm’s website accepts payment from schools, LAs as well as NHV Primary Care Trusts.  http://www.operationsmokestorm.com/
    NHS National Institute for Health Research, cited in the article and implying it is connected to Operation Smoke Storm, doesn’t have any info on the initiative.  Searching its website threw up nothing.

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