Cancer Council Queensland is urging schools to help reduce the prevalence of tobacco smoking among young people by taking part in The Critics’ Choice.
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. Entries open today, July 15.
The Critics’ Choice was specifically developed to increase young people’s awareness of the issues and dangers surrounding tobacco use and nicotine addiction.
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 five per cent of young people aged 14 to 19 smoke daily1, 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 16 cancer types.
“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 16.1 years.-
“We must do all we can to educate young people to stop them from smoking and prevent them from taking up the deadly habit.
“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.”
As an extra incentive, schools registered with Cancer Council Queensland’s QUEST program, that take part can go into the draw to win a $300 sporting equipment voucher for the school. Voting closes September 20.
Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year. One in nine Queensland adults smoke daily, and about one in four children live in a home with a current smoker.
Smokers of any age are urged to call the Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 7848) for free information, practical assistance and support to quit.
To take part in Critics’ Choice visit https://criticschoice.quit.org.au/.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.
For more information, or interviews, media can contact:
Brianna Burraston, Public Relations Coordinator, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5308 or 0428 580 363