Young people develop stop smoking campaign
30/05/2014An innovative Stop Smoking Campaign has been developed to tackle smoking among young people in care.
The 16 Plus Service User Group met four times between January and March 2014. The group shared facts on what influences young children in care to start smoking, reasons why they continue to smoke and the risks of addiction, the harmful effects of tobacco use, and the most effective ways to get the key messages across about giving up.
One young person involved in the project explains: “Our Group successfully created a stop smoking campaign in the form of flyers and posters. The poster outlines the impact smoking has on teeth, lungs, heart and skin. There is also a message around avoiding illnesses and potential death, and saying no before addiction kicks in. The flyer outlines financial benefits of stopping smoking, the importance of distracting yourself when thinking of a cigarette, and taking the first step to stop sooner rather than later.”
One participant said:” Our group engaged in various group discussions and, as a result, the young people are better informed on the benefits of stopping smoking. Everyone was very motivated and committed to developing the campaign ‘by young people in care for young people in care’.”
Young people are often aware of the risks of tobacco use but these do not always seem 'real' enough to put them off smoking.
Another young person adds: “We found that every day 19 young people start smoking in Northern Ireland. There are a range of factors which can lead to a young person starting smoking. Some of these are curiosity, the perception of smoking being the norm and socio-economic status. Many young people assume they will be able to stop smoking whenever they choose, but smoking is highly addictive. By the time the young person understands the risks many will find it very difficult to stop smoking.”
Smoking contributes to many cancers, heart disease, bronchitis and asthma, and other illnesses including stroke. Smoking kills almost 2,300 people each year in Northern Ireland and thousands more are living with debilitating illnesses as a result of their addiction.
Within the Southern Trust there is a wide availability of specialist smoking cessation programmes. Anyone interested in giving up should call the Stop Smoking helpline on 028 3741 5333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the 16 Plus Service User Group who developed the stop smoking campaign for young people in care. Included are Mairead Cullen, 16 Plus TASKE Project Leader, and Nuala Carlin, Reach Worker, from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust