Smoking and Alcohol


The Health and Well-being Standard


This chapter should be read in conjunction with the following:

Drugs and Substance Misuse Procedure

Health and Wellbeing Policy


All reasonable measures are used to reduce or prevent children and young people from obtaining drugs or substances which may harm them. If it is known or suspected that children are obtaining products which may harm them, Strategies are adopted to reduce or prevent it.


This chapter was slightly updated in October 2013 in regard to staff must not smoke outside designated areas or use a electronic cigarette in front of children.


  1. Smoking
  2. Alcohol

1. Smoking

We do no permit smoking in any of our homes/premises.

Smoking means smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance. It includes being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked.

The smoking ban applies to all staff, children and young people, and visitors.

The ban covers all areas of our premises which are enclosed or substantially enclosed. It does not apply to areas without a roof.

  • Enclosed means having a ceiling or roof and, except for doors, windows and passageways, wholly enclosed permanently or temporarily;
  • Substantially enclosed means having a ceiling or roof and with an opening or openings in the walls which amount in total to less than half of the area of the walls. For this purpose openings do not include doors or windows;
  • There are no exemptions for any areas of registered children's homes.

'No Smoking' signs must be displayed prominently at the entrances to all Childhood First premises. These signs must be a minimum of 210 mm x 148 mm (A5) in size. They must display the international 'No Smoking' symbol at least 70 mm in diameter and carry the following words in characters of a size which can be easily read:

"No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in (these premises*)."

* 'these premises' may be replaced by a specific reference to the relevant location e.g. 'this school' or the name of the centre.

At entrances not used by visitors the international 'No Smoking' symbol at least 70 mm in diameter must be displayed. This symbol must also be displayed in other areas if deemed appropriate and necessary.

It is also illegal to smoke in vehicles owned by Childhood First.

A 'No Smoking' sign will be displayed in each vehicle owned by Childhood First. These signs must display the international 'No Smoking' symbol at least 70mm in diameter.

Staff who work from home are not required to maintain a smoke-free environment, unless a part of their home is visited by other people in connection with the work carried out there. In the latter case the area concerned is required to be smoke-free and signs must be displayed.

Smoking must be permitted in designated areas of the gardens and grounds of Childhood First premises. Where possible, shelters will be provided. Receptacles for the disposal of cigarette butts and other smoking waste must be provided at all outside locations where smoking is permitted. Staff must not smoke or use electronic cigarettes outside of designated areas.

Staff are not permitted to smoke or use electronic cigarettes in the presence of children or young people, although the provision of an outside smoking shelter in the grounds for staff makes it realistically impossible to ensure that children will never be able to see staff smoking. Staff must not, however, use the smoking shelter if children are obviously in the vicinity.

Staff may not purchase cigarettes for children, nor may they give or loan cigarettes to children.

Children may not sell or trade cigarettes with other residents.

Childhood First recognises that many of the children in our care are established and habitual smokers for a complex variety of reasons, including stress relief and as a way of coping with difficult and disturbing emotions. Whilst Childhood First does not condone children smoking, we also have to adopt a realistic position which does not push children into adopting a secretive and anti-authority smoking position. Staff will actively promote and educate regarding the health benefits of being a non-smoker, emphasising aspects of particular significance to young people such as fitness for sport. Key/Linkworkers play a central role in pointing out the dangers of smoking and helping their key/linkchild to stop.

The health issues around smoking are addressed as part of a broader anti-substance abuse programme within our education syllabus.

Disciplinary Procedures will be followed if a member of staff does not comply with this policy. Those who do not comply with the smoke-free law may also be liable to a fixed penalty fine and possible criminal prosecution.

Free services to help smokers give up are offered by the NHS. Visit or call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0800 169 0 169. Alternatively you can text 'GIVE UP' and your full postcode to 88088 to find your local NHS Stop Smoking Service.

2. Alcohol

It is recognised that alcohol is part of the culture in Britain today, and widely available. Children need to understand the risks of using it. It is also true that many of the children who use Childhood First facilities will have been exposed to the misuse of alcohol and the use of illicit drugs. Their fears about people being under the influence of these substances may be quite acute. Their own propensity to misuse alcohol may also be heightened because of the painful trauma they have suffered. Given these facts, it is essential that staff understand what alcohol means from the point of view of the child's experience and act accordingly. Childhood First therefore prohibits the drinking of alcohol by employees, contractors, volunteers or visitors in the workplace or on business, except for reasonable drinking of alcohol at approved social functions.

Use of Alcohol by Children

It is recognised that the use of alcohol has implications for health and impairs judgment, sometimes leading to risk-taking behaviour. Any use of alcohol by the young people aged 18 years or older in Childhood First communities must be with permission of the staff. The impact on the children's group as a whole, as well as the individual concerned must be assessed, and a Risk Assessment made. In instances where children use alcohol without staff permission the issue will be discussed with them, and brought up in the relevant meetings. Children misusing alcohol and refusing to live with this rule may be suspended or excluded.

Where children's lifestyles involve excessive use of alcohol, which could lead to chronic addiction, expert help will be sought and placement needs discussed with the social worker.

Staff Should

  • Be continually vigilant to the use of alcohol;
  • Be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse;
  • Be proactive in providing information about alcohol abuse;
  • Be able to access specialist counselling and support if required for individual young people and to take advantage of in-service training opportunities covering alcohol misuse / abuse;
  • Discuss alcohol related issues openly with young people;
  • Work with young people towards preventing experimentation developing into addictions.

Rules Regarding Alcohol

These rules should be discussed at staff meetings and meetings with young people.

  • Young people are not permitted to bring alcohol into the community;
  • Staff must not supply young people with alcohol;
  • For age appropriate young people moving into independence, the social use of alcohol may be sanctioned but will be closely monitored;
  • Young people should not return to the home in an intoxicated state;
  • If staff have good reason to believe there is alcohol on the premises they can carry out spot checks of bedrooms and remove any alcohol found;
  • If a young person is known to use alcohol, the incidents will be discussed in community meetings and recorded. The social worker will be made aware and appropriate plans implemented to reduce use. Repeated incidents will probably mean suspension or exclusion from the Childhood First community and referral to a specialist resource;
  • If it becomes known that young people are obtaining alcohol from local shopkeepers, the Police may be advised.