AN anti-smoking program that taught local children how to make movies was a winner in last week’s 2015 WA Health Excellence Awards.
The Smarter than Smoking Young Directors’ Festival won the Promoting Healthy Habits and Preventing Illness and Injury category in the annual awards, which are open to any program or service in the WA Health Service.
The festival was a collaboration between the Armadale office of the South Metropolitan Population Health Unit (SMPHU), the National Heart Foundation of WA and Murdoch University and Healthway
Children in middle school years from schools across the region were put in the ‘directors’ seat to develop 30-second anti-smoking commercials.
The winning commercials, screened at the Armadale cinema each summer, reinforced anti-smoking messages to the local community.
As a result, young people have quit smoking, spoken to their parents about quitting and expressed that in the future they never want to take up smoking.
SMPHU manager of Health Promotion Ann Barblett said tobacco smoking was a leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia.
The program was a great response to the evidence that showed that people who start smoking when young were more likely to become dependent on nicotine.
“Feedback from the participants shows that half of them still live with at least one parent who smokes and 60 per cent of them have spoken to their parents about quitting,” she said. “It is really encouraging that 90 per cent of the students have stated they don’t want to end up a smoker.”