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ASSIST (A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial) in Scotland

ASSIST is a licensed, peer-led, school-based smoking prevention programme that encourages the dissemination of non-smoking norms by training S1 (aged 12 to 13 years) and S2 (aged 13 to 14 years) students to work as peer supporters. Peer supporters have informal conversations with other students about the risks of smoking and the benefits of being smoke-free. ASSIST was found to be effective in preventing smoking in a large randomised control trial funded by the Medical Research Council.

In its current Tobacco Control Strategy, published in 2013, the Scottish Government committed to undertake a pilot of ASSIST, which would consider its suitability for Scotland. Since 2014 the Scottish Government has been working in partnership with three Health Boards (Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Tayside and Lothian) to trial ASSIST in schools in their areas.

The Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist’s Office has funded the University of Stirling to undertake a 3-year process evaluation of ASSIST in Scotland which will produce its final report in spring 2017. Summary findings from an interim evaluation report can be accessed here: