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Smoke-free Youth Ambassadors take the lead to promote smoke-free living in the community
2015.03.10
Youth are vulnerable to trying the lethal cigarettes due to curiosity and peer pressure. Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) believes that education is important for tobacco control. In order to educate the youngsters on smoking hazards and the latest trend of tobacco control, as well as to nurture them to sustain the pioneer role in spreading smoke-free messages, COSH has organized the Smoke-free Youth Ambassador Leadership Training Programme annually since 2012. An award presentation ceremony was held today to commend the outstanding youth ambassadors of the 2014-15 programme.

Honorable guests included Mr Kevin YEUNG, JP, Under Secretary for Education, Dr Sarah CHOI, JP, Assistant Director of Health (Special Health Services), Prof LAM Tai-hing, BBS, JP, Chair Professor of Community Medicine & Sir Robert Kotewall Professor in Public Health, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Mr Antonio KWONG, MH, COSH Chairman and Ms Yolanda NG, MH, COSH Vice-chairperson.

“The Smoke-free Youth Ambassador Leadership Training Programme has come to its third year. Through participating in a series of interactive group activities, the youngsters were equipped with tobacco control knowledge and various skills. They also utilized their creativity to organize diverse programmes to promote smoke-free message to their classmates, family and neighbours, which created an atmosphere of healthy smoke-free living in the community.” Mr Antonio KWONG, COSH Chairman said.

Mr Kevin YEUNG, Under Secretary for Education remarked that the Education Bureau has been encouraging students to learn beyond the classroom to widen their horizon. The programme provides a valuable learning experience for students to put healthy life-style into practice and promote a smoke-free culture. Mr Yeung was delighted that the youth ambassadors had organized numerous creative activities in their schools and community after the training to sow the seeds of smoke-free culture in the society.

Over 300 youngsters, aged 14 to 18, from more than 30 secondary schools, youth centres and uniform groups enrolled for the 2014-15 programme. They joined a 2-Day-1-Night leadership training camp last summer to receive knowledge on tobacco hazards and tobacco control measures. Their creativity, leadership, programme planning, critical thinking and communication skills were also enhanced through diversified training activities. Between September and December 2014, the youth ambassadors applied their knowledge to initiate more than 100 innovative programmes reaching over 30,000 citizens to disseminate the smoke-free message in their schools and community. Programmes included comic drawing contest, video promotion, school radio programme, promotion and drama on streets, and fan page establishment on social media.

Dr Sarah CHOI, Assistant Director of Health (Special Health Services), remarked, “The Department of Health accords high priority to tobacco control. We support COSH's objective of this programme: preventing the youth and children to take a first cigarette puff as well as encouraging smokers to quit."

COSH commended the outstanding teams in today’s award presentation ceremony. They were the champion, Lingnan Dr Chung Wing Kwong Memorial Secondary School; 1st runner-up, Yan Chai Hospital Lan Chi Pat Memorial Secondary School and 2nd runner-up, CMA Secondary School (Team 2). The champion team shared their tips and experience in organizing the activities under the theme of “Smoke-free, Love and Continuity”. They were determined to convey the smoke-free concept and encourage smokers to quit smoking with love, as well as to pass on the smoke-free spirits. The team launched a series of activities which reached over 3,000 citizens, including slogan competition, game booths, anti-cancer health talk and video production. In addition, they arranged senior students to participate in smoke-free liberal forum to discuss hottest topic on tobacco control and carry out survey in the community. The team also invited students, teachers and citizens to make a smoke-free pledge and displayed banner with smoke-free slogan on busy streets. Tailor-made activities were designed for the grass-root and female smokers, eg distributed cards with warm reminders and smoking cessation information to smokers on street. Besides, a fan page on social media was created to effectively disperse the smoke-free message among the young generation through all-rounded channels.

The programme has successfully encouraged around 1,000 youth ambassadors to take the leading role in establishing a smoke-free environment over the past three years. COSH will organize the Smoke-free Youth Ambassador Leadership Training Programme 2015-16 and invite local secondary schools, youth centres and uniform groups to join hands in encouraging a smoke-free living in the community. Details of the programme can be found at: www.facebook.com/SmokefreeYouthAmbassador and www.smokefree.hk.

Photo captions:
Honorable guests commended the outstanding youth ambassadors for organizing innovative programmes to promote smoke-free living in the community.
Honorable guests commended the outstanding youth ambassadors for organizing innovative programmes to promote smoke-free living in the community.

The Champion team, Lingnan Dr Chung Wing Kwong Memorial Secondary School, spread the concepts of “Smoke-free, Love and Continuity” to all guests and Smoke-free Youth Ambassadors.
The Champion team, Lingnan Dr Chung Wing Kwong Memorial Secondary School, spread the concepts of “Smoke-free, Love and Continuity” to all guests and Smoke-free Youth Ambassadors.
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