Schools are being encouraged to help reduce the prevalence of tobacco smoking among young people by taking part in The Critics’ Choice 2017.
The program, coordinated by the Australian Network on Young People And Tobacco (ANYPAT), asks students to critique anti-smoking advertisements and vote on the most effective way to discourage young people from smoking.
The Critics’ Choice was specifically developed to increase young people’s awareness of the issues and dangers surrounding tobacco use and nicotine addiction.
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Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said smoking rates among young people were concerning, with many putting their short and long-term health at risk.
“Research shows that eight per cent of young people aged 14 to 19 smoke daily, which is why it’s vital to discourage more young people from taking up the habit,” Ms McMillan said.
“Smoking can have a detrimental effect on health, with those who smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke at greater risk of developing chronic diseases, including some cancers.
“We know that those who start smoking in their teenage years are also more likely to continue their smoking habit, and are more likely to smoke more frequently.
“In Queensland the average age of someone smoking their first full cigarette is 16.2 years.
“We must do all we can to educate young people to stop them from smoking and prevent them from becoming daily smokers.
“The Critics’ Choice gives schools an opportunity to positively influence students – and in turn gives young people the chance to have a say on advertising methods that will be most beneficial in preventing their peers from lighting up.”
The survey aligns with the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education for years 5 to 10. Schools can take part by heading to criticschoice.quit.org.au.