Thursday, 6th July 2017: As it prepares for X-HALE Youth Awards today, the Society has said is it vital that this generation of young people give the biggest blow to cancer possible – by not starting to smoke. The Irish Cancer Society has said that research shows that nearly eight in ten smokers will begin the habit before their 18th birthday.
Over 350 young people from 40 youth and community groups will today showcase a huge range of short films based on anti-tobacco messages in the Odeon Cinema in The Point Village, Dublin. The groups are travelling to the event from all over Ireland and have written, directed and starred in their own films. They have worked hard to promote the smoke free messages in their films through screenings, poster campaigns and awareness raising events in their communities. Their films have received an impressive 20,000 views on YouTube so far.
While the rate of smoking has seen declines in recent years, 8% (or approximately 40,260) of children and young people between the ages of 10 and 17 are using tobacco.[ii]
Kevin O’Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager with the Irish Cancer Society said, “Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer in Ireland, causing one in three cancers overall and nine in ten lung cancers. Our young people have a really important part to play in enabling Ireland to become a tobacco-free country – simply by not starting in the first place or by getting the right supports to quit.
“A typical 17 year old today has seen huge changes to attitudes to smoking in this country over their lifetime. They have seen a workplace smoking ban, a ban on ten packs of cigarettes, the introduction of health warnings on tobacco products, a ban on smoking in cars with children and are on the cusp of seeing plain packaging come into force.”
“All of these measures have seen smoking rates decline but the battle is not yet won and we have still a lot to do. We need to ensure that young people are supported to be smoke free and are confident enough to share this message with their peers. Today the Irish Cancer Society is very proud to showcase the work of youth groups who are standing up and highlighting the impact of tobacco.”
Doireann Garrihy, Blogger, Presenter on Spin 103.8 and MC of the awards show, said, “I am really delighted to be presenting the X-HALE Youth Awards today. There are groups from 20
counties right across Ireland taking part including Youth Work Ireland, Crosscare, Foroige, No Name Club, Youthreach and Community Training Centres among many others, and they will all see their work showcased on the big screen!
“I want to pay special tribute to all of the young people who have put such a huge effort into each of the films. They are all fantastic pieces of work and show such creativity and originality. The anti-smoking message is such an important one to champion and I’m really impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm shown by all of the participants.”
X-HALE is a community initiative, established in 2011 in partnership with youth organisations and young people across Ireland. X-HALE aims to harness the potential for young people to drive the movement towards a tobacco-free generation among their friends, communities and wider networks using film, social media and community action.
Irish Cancer Society X-HALE Youth Awards – 2017 Winners
Overall Senior Category Short Film Competition Winner (Prize donated by Bank of Ireland)
Edenderry Youth Café: Don’t Let Yourself Rot from the Inside Out
Overall Junior Category Short Film Competition Winner (Prize donated by Bank of Ireland)
Bounce Back Youth Services- Wrong Choices
Short Film Competition Senior Category Runner Up
Nenagh Community Training CentreTo Smoke is a Joke
Short Film Competition Junior Category Runner Up
Attic House Teen Project- Ex-hale
Community Campaign Winner
Club Óg Ógras Baile Uí Thuaidhg- Ná Bac Le Tabac
Online Competition Winner (most views on YouTube)
Southill Club2gether Youth Project Limerick-Smoking Changes Your Life
Judges Choice Winner
Poppintree Youth Project- Live Your Life
Most Convincing Smoking Prevention Film
Fountain Youth Project- Peer Pressure
Best Smoke Free Generation Message
The Youth Booth Ballinrobe- Ditch the Fags
Best Impact of Tobacco Message
Dun Laoighaire Community Training Centre- Smokey’s Story
Best Smoking Infuences Message
Corofin Foroige- Voices
Ellen Carroll- YWI Monaghan Castleblayney Youth Café- The Cigarette Assassin
Craig Smith- Foroige Ferrybank Waterford-Clearing the Smoke
Best Social Media Post of the day
YouthWork Ireland Monaghan
Best Blogging Group
Blanchardstown Community Training Centre- I Told You So
[i] Report of the Tobacco Policy Review Group (2013) Tobacco Free Ireland Department of Heath
[ii] Gavin, A., Keane, E., Callaghan, M., Molcho, M., Kelly, C. & Nic Gabhainn, S (2015). The Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Study 2014. Department of Health and National University of Ireland, Galway.