Smoking campaign rolls out to Devon’s young people


Posted on: 27 July 2012

A new campaign is being rolled out to explode some of the popular myths surrounding Devon’s young people and smoking.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:  “Young people start smoking for a variety of reasons, but mainly down to peer pressure, and because they don’t want to be seen to be different.

“The reality is that more young people don’t smoke than do, and this campaign is very specifically targeted at this highly vulnerable market; showing some of the positive things they can do with their time and money, rather than joining the minority of smokers.”

The Smokefree Devon Alliance campaign has been created by young people for young people, and features a You Tube Clip and Facebook page, with the title ‘Roll Your Own Way’ using humour, music and fun images to debunk the perceptions that young people have on smoking.

Research shows that they feel smoking is normal behaviour and therefore acceptable.  The campaign sends a strong message that most young people don’t smoke and that smoking is a waste of money.

Short film clips have proved very popular with young people who quickly share them via Facebook and other social media sites.  Their overall reach can be fast and very large.

The campaign is backed by NHS Devon and Devon County Council, and the You Tube clip features young people from Devon, who were also involved in designing the campaign.

Devon County Council’s Chief Executive Phil Norrey is Chairman of the Smokefree Devon Alliance.

“We need to look at more imaginative ways to engage young people in public health matters, and the use of social media is a good way to do this,” said Dr Norrey.

“The campaign captures young people’s imagination, and encourages interaction, which gives it a life of its own.  It also encourages debate and stimulates conversations about smoking amongst young people, their peers and their family.

“Research tells us that generally people who smoke start before they reach the age of 19, so it’s important that young people are given the information to help them make educated decisions about their lifestyle choices.  This campaign provides information on smoking in an informal, fun way.”

Watch the ‘Roll Your Own Way’ film below or visit the Facebook page.

Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health, said “Smoking ruins your health. Eight out of ten young people are smart enough to know that the best thing for their health and finances is not smoking.”

Lesley Thomas, Tobacco Control Manager, NHS Devon, said: “Reducing the uptake of smoking among young people in Devon is an important public health issue.

“Health services have been very successful in getting adults to quit, but we must also work hard to reduce the uptake of smoking among children.  Over 80% of adult smokers take up the habit before their 19th birthday.  Tobacco control initiatives aimed at young people aim to make smoking less accessible, less available, and less attractive.”

Further information:

The ambition in the Tobacco Control Plan for England ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’ (Department of Health, 2011) is to reduce the rate of regular smoking among 15 year olds in England from 15% to 12%. (Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People, NHS Information School Based Survey 2009.)

It is estimated that each year in England around 340,000 children under the age of 16 who have never smoked before try cigarettes  and every year 200,000 children start smoking regularly, of these 67% start before the age of 18% and 84% by the age of 19.

Devon Public Health Intelligence Team (PHIT) using national data from the “Smoking, Drinking and Drug use Among Young People in England in 2010”, and the current difference between national (21.1%) and Devon (18.5%) rates in adults, estimate the prevalence of children currently smoking regularly in Devon aged 15 years old as 10.5.  This is approximately 1350, 15 year olds based on a population of 13,500.

It is estimated that 5% of 16-24 year olds will take up smoking for the first time.  In Devon this is approximately 4726 young people.

3 comments on “Smoking campaign rolls out to Devon’s young people

  1. Lesley Thomas on said:

    Great idea to enter the CutFilms competition. You could even enter their special extra competition running on plain packaging. See There are IPads to be won and a red carpet prizewinners event in October.

  2. Charlie Stebbings on said:

    All such initiatives have my backing and the fewer who start smoking must be the main focus of any government initiatives.
    Why not spread the word and have fun making a short film to convince you friends not to smoke by taking part in the Cut Films Competition.
    Have a look at

    You may just be a winner as well as save others from the horrible business of smoking.
    Good luck and sign up,

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