Ballybofey ‘reclaims the air’ and gets €5,000

Matt Britton

Reporter:

Matt Britton

The youth of one Donegal town have set new standards in the promotion of a no smoking campaign which highlights the dangers of passive smoking in the community.

The youth of one Donegal town have set new standards in the promotion of a no smoking campaign which highlights the dangers of passive smoking in the community.

The Irish Cancer Society has awarded Foróige VIP club from Ballybofey, Donegal a grant of €5,000 as part of the X-HALE Youth Awards. Now in its second year, this initiative by the Society aims to encourage young people to take on the issue of smoking in their own communities. The award was made last week at a ceremony in Ballybofey, Donegal.

The funding will go towards enabling the project “It’s not fair you’re still claiming our air”.

Foróige VIP club will create an original piece of art or theatre, devised by young people in partnership with Balor DCA, Ballybofey. They want their project to promote a positive image of young people, offer peer-to-peer learning on the dangers of passive smoking and enable young people to highlight the dangers of passive smoking in the community. They also want parents will gain a greater understanding on the effects of passive smoking.

The X-HALE Awards are part of the Irish Cancer Society’s Young People and Smoking Initiative, a programme that aims to de-normalise smoking in communities where smoking is an issue. Applications were invited from over 30 youth groups all over Ireland and the successful applicants all demonstrated unique and innovative ways of tackling the issue of smoking amongst young people in their community.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Irish Cancer Society CEO John McCormack said “Smoking is a huge problem in Irish society, almost one third of the population smoke and one in two smokers will die prematurely as a result. Something needs to be done about smoking. Over three quarters of smokers begin during childhood so it is essential that we reach young people before they start smoking.”

“With this programme the Irish Cancer Society wants to reduce the number of young people smoking, discourage young people from starting to smoke in the first place and support young smokers who want to quit. We believe that encouraging young people to do something positive to address smoking in their own communities will help achieve these goals. By challenging young people to think about the health consequences and tackle the smoking culture in their own community, we can reduce smoking prevalence in Ireland, reduce cancer risk and help sustain healthy communities.”

Vanessa Collins from the Foróige drug and alcohol project said “Foróige and the Balor DCA are delighted to be part of the X-HALE Youth Awards scheme and to be working with the Irish Cancer Society. We believe that empowering and enabling young people to take on an anti-smoking campaign will have a very positive effect on them, their peers and the community at large. We put a lot of work into our application and we are very excited to get started on making the project a success.”