May 27 , 2004
(Health and Community Services)
Students take action for smoke-free spaces
Junior and senior high school students from across the province are gathered at a summit in St. Johnís for three days to showcase plans they have developed and implemented focused on heightening awareness on the dangers of second-hand smoke in schools, homes and communities. As part of the Clear the Air, Itís Ours to Share smoke-free spaces pilot project, over the last year, students and their teachers were chosen to develop action plans to highlight the benefits of creating smoke-free environments.
The pilot project is a partnership of the provincial departments of Health and Community Services and Education with Health Canada. The basis for the project was a CD Rom developed by Health Canada which was designed as an educational tool to engage youth in taking action to create smoke-free spaces. The resource provides young people with the inspiration and information they require to become effective advocates for creating smoke-free environments.
Nine schools from across the province are engaged in the pilot. Last fall schools participated in a one-day orientation workshop to learn about the dangers of second-hand smoke and how the CD Rom could be used as a planning tool and brainstorm potential action plans to be implemented in their school, homes or community.
During the school year, students worked on a range of activities including developing smoke-free school policies, advocating for local public buildings to go smoke-free, wrote and performed plays, erected roads signs and other promotional materials aimed at delivering smoke-free messages to their peers, parents and family members.
"As this project is provincial in scope, the department felt there would be great value in bringing together both student and teacher representatives to showcase and document their experiences regarding how they used the Smoke-Free Spaces Activist Toolkit CD Rom in their schools," said Elizabeth Marshall, Minister of Health and Community Services. "The summit will be an excellent opportunity for participants to share experiences, learn from one another and build on successes."
"Health Canada developed this toolkit to inspire, inform and equip young Canadians to take on second-hand smoke in their communities," said Julie Greene of the Tobacco Control Programme, at Health Canada. "The exceptional reach and success of the Newfoundland pilot site has demonstrated that when we harness and support the phenomenal drive and energy of youth, we can really make things happen at the local, provincial or national level."
"Pilot projects of this nature offer young people and educators the opportunity to address and learn from real life issues," said John Ottenheimer, Minister of Education. "Coming together in a summit offers incredible added value with opportunities to share with and learn from the efforts and experiences of others."
Along with student presentations on their respective initiatives, other activities scheduled during the summit include discussions on ways to sustain the work developed during the pilot and looking at ways to disseminate the resource to other schools and community groups throughout the province.
The Smoke-Free Spaces Student Summit will include approximately 60 students and teachers, including members of governmentís Provincial Teen Tobacco Team.
Media are invited to attend the summit on Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Airport Inn, St. Johnís to hear the students share their experiences in participating in this pilot project. The agenda follows.
Media contact: Carolyn Chaplin, Communications, (709) 729-1377
Schools taking part in the Smoke-Free Spaces Student Summit
Friday, May 28, Agenda
9:15 a.m. to 3:00p.m. Downloading the Details: Each school will present for 30 minutes highlighting their action plans, discussing and sharing learning and successes.
9:15 a.m. Roncalli Central High School, Avondale
2004 05 27 2:30 p.m.