ASSIST is a smoking prevention programme which aims to reduce adolescent smoking prevalence. ASSIST encourages new norms of smoking behaviour by training influential Year 8 students to work as ‘peer supporters’. Peer supporters are trained and supported to have informal conversations with other Year 8 students about the risks of smoking and the benefits of being smoke-free.
ASSIST has been evaluated by a randomised controlled trial funded by the Medical Research Council. The trial found the ASSIST programme to be effective in reducing smoking prevalence over a two year period of follow-up, with the trial results published in The Lancet. If implemented throughout the UK, it is estimated that the ASSIST programme would prevent 20,000 young people taking up smoking each year.
Internationally and in the UK no other schools-based smoking prevention programme has been found to be as effective in such a rigorously conducted large scale randomised trial. The costs and benefits of the ASSIST intervention fall within the range of previously reported school-based interventions to prevent the uptake of smoking.
DECIPHer IMPACT provides our customers with the necessary training, support, advice, resources and quality assurance to set up and deliver ASSIST effectively. It also provides ongoing events and updates to the programme.