Victory College students Tiffany Pearce, Kelsey Birt, Lauren Raftery and Bronte Newcombe have embraced the anti-smoking message.
Victory College students Tiffany Pearce, Kelsey Birt, Lauren Raftery and Bronte Newcombe have embraced the anti-smoking message. Craig Warhurst

Anti-smoking ads work for kids

VICTORY College students say commercials designed to stop young people from taking up smoking were very effective; and with peer pressure encouraging kids to take up the habit the message couldn’t come any sooner.

Yesterday the school’s Year 9 English classes watched the advertisements as a part of the Cancer Council Queensland’s annual youth smoking prevention program, The Critics’ Choice.

Year 9 girls’ English teacher Craig Wilson said he thought the advertisements were very good at getting through to the students.

He said some used graphic pictures and others used family stories, but each ad affected a different student.

Mr Wilson said all the students were “quite interested” in the advertisements and lively discussion followed.

Year 9 student Tiffany Pearce said she thought the ads were very educational, and by depicting diseases caused by smoking they were very effective at passing on the anti-smoking message.

“It’s pretty sad to see people our age smoking. They think it’s cool to smoke and it’s awesome, but it’s disgusting,” she said.

Another student, Kelsey Birt, said she thought the most effective ad was one that showed what happened to people’s lungs after smoking.

Fellow student Lauren Raftery said she saw people in her age group being peer pressured into smoking, which she also thought was disgusting. She said the commercials were very good at influencing her not to smoke.

Student Bronte Newcombe said she thought smoking was very anti-social as she couldn’t stand to be around people who smoked.

Registrations for the program are open to all Queensland upper primary and secondary schools in an effort to decrease youth smoking.

Community Services Co-ordinator at Cancer Council Queensland, Rachel Hull, said choosing not to smoke was one of the best health and social decisions a young person could make.

“Approximately 32,000 Queensland school children aged 12 to 17 years smoke each week, which is a very worrying statistic,” she said.

The aim is for students to watch, critique and discuss the ads and vote on the one most likely to prevent them from taking up smoking or encourage them to quit.

To register your school, or for more information about The Critics’ Choice Program, email or call the Cancer Council Helpline (toll free) on 13 11 20.

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