News Release - September 17, 2007
HELPING SASKATCHEWAN YOUTH MAKE THE HEALTHY CHOICE TO BE TOBACCO-FREE
The government of Saskatchewan's commitment to tobacco control continues to emphasize youth. With the new school year underway, students and teachers are being encouraged to participate in Saskatchewan Health's youth-oriented tobacco-free initiatives and make the choice of a healthy lifestyle.
"Studies show that non-smoking youth are more likely to become non-smoking adults," Healthy Living Services Minister Graham Addley said. "Programs like View and Vote and the Tobacco-Free Grad Challenge provide Saskatchewan students with the tools to discuss tobacco and its effect and make the healthy choice to stay tobacco-free."
View and Vote is designed to create discussion about youth's attitudes toward, and the consequences of, tobacco use. Saskatchewan students grades 6-12 have an opportunity to watch and discuss a number of Canadian, American and international anti-tobacco ads demonstrating various impacts of tobacco use. Students will vote for the ad that would most likely prevent them from trying tobacco products or, if they are smoking, inspire them to quit. The commercial that receives the most votes will be aired on Saskatchewan television networks in the New Year.
In 2006-2007, more than 16,000 Saskatchewan students from 284 schools participated in the first View and Vote.
Also, Saskatchewan high schools have now received their invitation to join Saskatchewan's Tobacco-Free Grad Challenge. In 2005, the grade 12 class of Loon Lake's Ernie Studer School graduated tobacco-free, setting a great example for all Saskatchewan youth. Minister Addley built on this success by encouraging all grade 12 classes in Saskatchewan high schools to take up the challenge and make the commitment to themselves and one another to graduate tobacco-free.
Two hundred and fourteen students representing 20 Saskatchewan schools participated in the Tobacco-Free Grad Challenge in 2006-2007.
Tobacco-free youth initiatives are a key element in Saskatchewan's tobacco control strategy which focuses on prevention, cessation, protection and denormalization of tobacco and tobacco products. Through these efforts, smoking amongst Saskatchewan youth 15 to 19 years of age has declined from 25 per cent in 2005 to 21 per cent in 2006.
"Although smoking is on the decline among Saskatchewan's young people, our government continues to focus on empowering all residents to choose not to use tobacco, reducing exposure to second-hand smoke, and denormalizing tobacco use by making it the exception rather than the rule," Addley said.
The government's ongoing campaign to reduce tobacco use in Saskatchewan includes smoke-free public places, banning the display of tobacco products and promotion in retail establishments, support of the Smokers' Helpline (1-877-513-5333), and the passing of the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Cost Recovery Act, which enables the province to sue the tobacco industry to recover the health care costs of tobacco-related illness and disease.
Additional information an all tobacco initiatives, including View and Vote and the Tobacco-Free Grad Challenge, is available online at www.health.gov.sk.ca/smoking-and-your-health.
For more information, contact: