A smoking prevention campaign by Smokefree Sheffield saw young people across the city pledging to be part of the Smokefree Generation.
It is estimated that 5 children start smoking in Sheffield every day. Reaching young people before they pick up that first cigarette is vital as children who experiment with cigarettes can quickly become addicted and may show signs of addiction within four weeks of starting to smoke.
A survey carried out across South Yorkshire identified that 48% of children started smoking before age of 15. The Smokefree Generation campaign aimed to reach people during this crucial life stage where they are likely to experiment with smoking for the first time, to influence them to stay smokefree or to seek help to quit through Zest Smokefree C&YP Service and Yorkshire Smokefree Sheffield.
For the campaign, 11-25 year olds were invited to share why they don’t smoke or why they want to quit. These quotes were turned into posters by a graphic designer to inspire young people to be smokefree by highlighting the factors that matter most to them.
Young people across the city took part, with over 100 quotes submitted to the dedicated mobile site, of which 8 were turned into posters.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield, said, “It’s great to know that young people are informed and passionate about being smokefree. It was inspiring to read all the different reasons given by young people for being smokefree or wanting to quit, motivations like money, health and family are sure to resonate with everyone in Sheffield, not just young people.”
Peer pressure plays a pivotal role in influencing the behaviour of young people. A survey undertaken by Smokefree Sheffield found that 50% of 11-25 year olds interviewed had “a lot” of friends who smoke and 30% felt it was hard not to smoke when their friends do.
The campaign aimed to counteract this by promoting positive messages from young people about not smoking, with Smokefree Generation posters shared on social media and in schools, colleges and youth centres to create a social norm around not smoking.
“Smoking rates are at an all time low in England and Sheffield. It was really encouraging to see so many young people pledging to be part of the smokefree generation. Young people saying no to cigarettes is really important to achieving our ambitions to reduce smoking in the city and reach a time where no children take up the habit. We are aiming to achieve a smokefree generation by the year 2025.” said Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council.
Although the competition has ended, young people can still share their reasons for being smokefree at www.smokefreegeneration.co.uk. Smokefree Sheffield will continue to share these messages on their Facebook page to continue to inspire people to be smokefree.
Notes to editors:
- Smokefree Sheffield brings the city’s Tobacco Control Board partners and local services together under one umbrella and has been set up to help smokers, non-smokers, quitters and the whole community work towards a future without tobacco.
- The full set of Smokefree Generation posters can be seen here:https://www.smokefreesheffield.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Smokefree-Generation-Posters.pdf. High-res versions and animations are available on request.
- For details of the under 18s stop smoking service visit: https://www.zestcommunity.co.uk/services/smoke-free/
- For details of the over 18s stop smoking service visit: https://sheffield.yorkshiresmokefree.nhs.uk/
- For media enquiries please email email@example.com or call 0114 221 0378.