Pupils Prepare to Stub out Smoking Posted on: 29 Mar 2018

A GROUP of fledging filmmakers have been selected to lead the fight against smoking in South Tyneside.  South Tyneside Council and the Customs House joined forces to work with schools in the region to develop a creative campaign persuading peers to stub out smoking.

The winning group, from Whitburn Church of England Academy, were carefully selected from amongst a host of creative ideas submitted by students throughout South Tyneside.

Three Year 10 pupils, Lewis Fasa, James Fletcher and Adam Swinbanks put forward a unique take on a stop-motion animation using Lego, with a powerful storyline about the harmful effects of smoking.  The trio filmed their story for the new smoking prevention campaign, working alongside and gaining experience from regional film and media professionals Roar Motions.

The pupils generated a wonderful array of creative submissions, and we were thrilled that Lewis, James and Adam won!  It’s especially important for our pupils to take learning into their own hands and be aware of the negative impacts smoking can have on your health, happiness and well-being.

The judging panel included South Tyneside Council, The Customs House, video production experts Roar Motion, and regional PR agency Creo Communications.

Coun Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “We were really pleased with the submissions, and the judging panel selected a worthy winner.

“We know from previous campaigns that our young people are incredibility creative and imaginative. By empowering them, we truly believe they can help us to reach out to their peers and deliver a strong anti-smoking message.

“Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health. With so many aids and support available, there really has never been a better time to quit. I would encourage all smokers to make this year a healthier one and decide to quit using whichever method works for them.”

Daniel Clifford, Learning and Participation Officer at the Customs House, said: “We were really pleased with the submissions from students in South Tyneside. Each group had a unique way of demonstrating the harmful effects of smoking.

“This project has the obvious bonus of teaching the risks of smoking, but as we have seen from the submissions, it also inspires creativity.”

Smoking is a serious problem in South Tyneside. In a 2017 borough health survey, 5% of Year 8 pupils and 11% of Year 11 pupils said they had smoked a cigarette the week before the survey and 35% of pupils stated that a parent or carer smoked.  11% of Primary pupils stated that someone they live with smoked in the same room as them.

South Tyneside Council supports the Public Health England campaign highlighting cigarette tar poisons, which enter the bloodstream damaging major organs. The “Health Harms” campaign targets all smokers, with a particular focus on those in routine and manual occupations, as they make up over 50% of smokers and twice as likely to smoke as those in professional and managerial groups.  Locally, this echoes findings of the health equity audit, which highlighted that although South Tyneside has good coverage of services across the Borough, it needs to engage and target key populations.

Both Year 10 and Year 9 pupils were involved in the filming of the short film and we look forward to seeing the end result soon.