Tipperary Regional Youth Service has been recognised for its work in fighting the tobacco industry by the Irish Cancer Society.
The youth group were presented with the accolade for ‘Best Animation’ for their film Lungs on the Run. They were part of 270 young people from across Ireland who attended the Irish Cancer Society’s X-HALE Youth Awards 2012 at the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin where their various film projects were showcased
Following recent figures from the European Commission’s Eurobarometer* which revealed that Irish people start smoking at a younger age (16.4 years) than any of their European counterparts, youth groups from seven counties were keen to put their projects on the big screen to create awareness around the harmful effects of smoking.
The X-HALE Film Premiere is part of the Irish Cancer Society’s X-HALE Youth Awards, an initiative which aims to empower young people to address the issue of smoking in their own communities. The Oscar-themed event, which took place in the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin, saw 14youth groups send a rallying call to their peers about the impact of smoking, all through the medium of film.
With 89 per cent of young people reporting that they started to smoke because their friends smoke, the X-HALE initiative aims to encourage young people to address the issue themselves and to develop campaigns which are relevant to their peers. Tipperary Regional Youth Service received a grant of €5,000 from the Irish Cancer Society to develop the project. In total, the Society has awarded over €50,000 to roll out smoking related community awareness projects for young people across the country which aim to promote positive smoke-free lifestyles where smoking prevalence is high.
“The Irish Cancer Society is committed to reducing the numbers of young people smoking in Ireland and the X-HALE Youth Awards play an important role in terms of both educating and creating awareness among the next generation in this regard,” said John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society. “We cannot afford to ignore these latest figures which demonstrate why we have engaged with young people and educated them about the lethal effects of smoking before the tobacco industry reaches them.”
Kevin O’Hagan, Health Promotion Manager at the Irish Cancer Society said: “With over half of smokers starting to smoke between the ages of 15 and 18 years of age, it is vital young people are made aware of the impact which the decision to smoke can have on their life. It has been encouraging to see how engaged and passionate Tipperary Regional Youth Service is in spreading the message to their peers not to start smoking. We congratulate them on their achievement at the X-HALE Youth Awards 2012.”