PUPILS at a Hampshire school got to grips with discovering the dangers of smoking.

More than 80 Year Six students at Blackfield Primary School in Hampton Lane were given a hands-on lesson in why smoking could seriously harm their health.

It comes after the Daily Echo reported how there is a 14 per cent smoking rate among 15-year-olds in Hampshire – which is above the national average of 12.7 per cent.

However youth workers Ann McDonald and Derek Hawkins have been keen to stub out the threat of teenagers smoking in the waterside area of Hampshire and have been giving anti-smoking workshops in schools across the area.

The Daily Echo witnessed them discussing with Year Six pupils the misconceptions about smoking and put any myths about the habit to rest.

The question and answer session was lively with the pupils quick to put the youth workers through their paces.

Ann spoke candidly of her first-hand experience where she used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day and has lost loved ones to smoke related diseases, while pictures showing the horrifying effect smoking can have on lungs and the heart were also shown.

They also educated children on some of the 4000 chemicals that are in each cigarette, and spoke about what makes them so addictive.

Speaking to the Daily Echo after a session the pupils all agreed that it has really reaffirmed their commitment to stay smoke free.

Keagan Love, 11, said: “It's really useful knowing the consequences of addiction and smoking. Listening to what can happen to you was shocking."

While Abby Markham, said:”The most surprising thing I learned was how much damage smoking and even breathing in other people's smoke can do to you.”

Year six teacher Josh Rigby said the workshop was a huge success.

Mr Rigby said: “The children were really engaged and they were asking lots of questions and trying to clarify what they already know about smoking and lots of them are trying to understand the misconceptions about it.

Both Ann and Derek have been providing these anti-smoking sessions to year six students at all of the primary and junior schools in the waterside area for the last two years. Their work has been funded by the Dibden Allotments Fund.

Derek, said: "I think the fact that smoking is anti-social is clear in childrens mind. I think what we do really helps and it answers any questions they have on smoking as well. If you can stop one teenager from smoking then it is worth doing."