X-HALE 2018

Young people from across Ireland showcase short films encouraging their peers to be smoke free at Irish Cancer Society X-HALE Youth Awards 2018

Young people who smoke are much more likely to experience poorer mental health and engage in antisocial behaviour according to the Irish Cancer Society. Today, at its annual X-HALE Youth Awards, the Irish Cancer Society is highlighting that as well as the physical effects, smoking may also impact the mental wellbeing of young people.

While smoking rates have declined in recent years, a new report published by the HSE and Healthy Ireland revealed that 16% of children aged nine or older have smoked cigarettes in their lifetime and 6% are classified as current smokers. Of those who smoke, one in two experience irritability or bad temper, one in three reported ‘feeling low’ and one in three reported difficulties in getting to sleep.

In addition, schoolchildren who smoke are 12 times more likely to have consumed alcohol in the last month and 39 times more likely to have consumed cannabis in the last month.

Donal Buggy, Head of Services at the Irish Cancer Society said, “Thankfully, smoking rates have declined but there’s still a lot more work to do. These findings are extremely worrying. We know that smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer in Ireland, responsible for one in three cancers overall and nine in ten lung cancers. But this report shows the additional negative impact that smoking can have on the mental and physical wellbeing of young people in particular.”

This is the eighth year of the X-HALE programme, a youth smoking prevention initiative of the Irish Cancer Society. The programme aims to de-normalise smoking and encourage young people to drive the movement towards a tobacco free generation.

Over 350 young people from 45 youth and community groups across Ireland will showcase their short films, with anti-tobacco messaging, in the Helix, Dublin today. The groups have written, directed and starred in their films and have worked hard to promote them through screenings, posters and events in their communities. To date the films have received an impressive 24,000 views on YouTube.

Mr Buggy continued “The Irish Cancer Society is very proud to showcase the work of youth groups who have displayed such creativity and originality in promoting the anti-tobacco messaging in their communities. The entries submitted show that young people truly understand the dangers of smoking and the power of the tobacco industry. Young people have a vital role to play on the journey to Ireland becoming a tobacco-free country.”

The winners of the 2018 X-HALE Youth Awards are listed below:



Overall Senior Category Short Film Competition Winner

Stoneybatter Community Training Centre, Dublin 7- Smoking...Don’t Pay the Ultimate Price

Overall Junior Category Short Film Competition Winner

Bounce Back Youth Service, Ballyjamesduff, Cavan- Don't Smoke Your Dreams Away

Short Film Competition Senior Category  Runner Up

Nenagh Community Training Centre- Get off the Nicotine Road

Short Film Competition Junior Category  Runner Up

The Jump Club Balally Family Resource Centre, Dublin 16- Killer Chemicals

Community Campaign Winner

Waterford Youth Training and Education Centre-  Waiting to breathe

Online Competition Winner (most views on YouTube)

      Ardfert Youth Club, Kerry- Think Twice


Judges Choice Winner

Ballinfoyle Young Filmers Foroige, Galway- Black Lungs

Most Convincing Smoking Prevention Film

Zone Youth Productions Gort Foroige- Inhale Exhale

Best Smoke Free Generation Message

Quay Foroige Ballina- Communities Trying to Stop Smoking

Best Impact of Tobacco Message

Foroige Ferrybank Drug Prevention Project Waterford- CEE4our Killing Me

Best Smoking Influences Message

Dundalk Youth Centre, Louth- Expectations Up in Smoke

Best Actress

Sonia Mc Keown, Dundalk Youth Centre- Expectations Up in Smoke

Best Actor

Sean Walsh, Kilrush Youthreach- Smokin Clive

Best Social Media Post of the day

Spokeslady Niamh

Best Blogging Group

Blanchardstown Community Training Centre- Puff

For further information and to watch the X-HALE entries visit www.cancer.ie/xhale2018. You can also follow the X-HALE conversation using the #TheXGeneration or visit the X-HALE Facebook Page.