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High Schools Promote World Smokefree Day

PRESS RELEASE 23 MAY 2008


High Schools Promote World Smokefree Day

Two Bay of Plenty high schools are organising events to promote the benefits of being “smokefree” for World Smokefree Day. The schools are being supported by a group of local health organisations wanting to reduce the harm caused from smoking. Participating schools are Katikati College and Otumoetai College.

On Tuesday 27 May, student health teams in each of the schools will be running a smokefree student quiz in the lunch hour. At each school, up to 100 students will participate in teams of four. The quiz events will challenge students to answer a range of general knowledge questions, including a round specifically relating to smoking. According to National Heart Foundation health promoter Julie Sargison, “The student health teams have been provided with the questions, answers, and prizes, but the actual running and promotion of the event is up to them”. A representative from the World Smokefree Day organising group will attend each event. The school events will also provide information and support to students and staff that want to quit smoking.

Trends of Year 10 smokers are tracked by the ASH National Year 10 survey. In the Bay of Plenty region and similarly around the country, statistics show a significant increase in the numbers of “never smokers” at Year 10 since 1999. Sargison says, “The group were keen to work with high schools because of the association between environments supportive of smokefree initiatives and a reduction in the rate of young people who begin smoking. If we are effective at creating environments where smokefree is the norm we will have significantly less tobacco related death and disease in the future”. All schools are legally required to provide smokefree buildings and grounds for students, staff and the community. Many schools are increasingly looking at ways they can encourage the whole school community (including parents) to promote smokefree messages.

For further information about quitting smoking, phone Quitline on 0800 778778 or visit www.quit.org.nz. More information about World Smokefree Day can be found at www.worldsmokefreeday.org.nz .


ENDS

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