News release

Campaign Aims to Keep Teens Smoke-free

NOTE: A list of locations for the first installment of the artifact boxes and monuments will follow the release.

A lot more young Nova Scotians will never start smoking, if the province and some nine-foot-dinosaurs have their way.

The province is launching a campaign to change teenage behaviour when it comes to the way they think about smoking, by making it a thing of the past.

"Young people are heavily influenced by their peers, and what they perceive to be normal teenage behaviour," said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness. "If we deliver a clear message to them, in a way that they can relate, fewer teens will start smoking. That will make a real difference in their health now, and the lives of their families into the future."

Teens say about 42 per cent of their high school peers smoke, when the correct number is about 15 per cent. By using dinosaurs, ash trays in museum displays, and interactive social media, teens will understand that "hardly anyone smokes anymore."

In 1999, Nova Scotia's youth smoking rate was 30 per cent. Through smoking reduction efforts like the Smoke-Free Places Act, tax increases and public awareness campaigns, the number dropped to 14 per cent by 2008.

Since then, youth smoking rates have leveled off at 15 per cent. The province wants that number drop to 10 per cent by 2015-16.

"The best thing one can do for their health is to be a non-smoker, and efforts designed to discourage smoking among Nova Scotia's youth is critically important," said Maureen Summers, CEO for the Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division. "The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more you increase your risk of developing cancer, so encouraging a tobacco-free existence early in life is an important step toward a healthy future."

The campaign was designed and tested on young people. Its innovative approach of social media and in-your-face visuals is designed to get youth talking.

"It's important that we take a strong, proactive approach to reducing tobacco-use rates in the province," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief public health officer. "We have to engage youth by using the tools that they use to connect with one another."

The website www.15andfalling.ca allows youth to post and chat about fads that are no longer cool, like smoking, and learn how few of their peers actually smoke.

The campaign also relies heavily on an offline component by going to popular hangouts like malls and theatres, where smoking paraphernalia will start popping up in museum display cases.

To reinforce the point, nine-foot-tall dinosaurs covered in ashtrays will appear at high schools throughout the province.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

A lot more young Nova Scotians will never start smoking, if the province and some nine-foot-dinosaurs have their way.

The province is launching a campaign to change teenage behaviour about the way they think about smoking, by making it a thing of the past.

Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald says, young people are heavily influenced by peers, so the province must deliver a clear message, in a way they can relate, so fewer teens will start smoking.

In 1999, Nova Scotia's youth smoking rate was 30 per cent. This dropped to 14 per cent by 2008 and has since leveled off at 15 per cent.

The province wants that number to drop, to 10 per cent by 2015-2016.

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Media Contact:

Tony Kiritsis
Health and Wellness 902-424-0585 E-mail:
  • Prince Andrew High School, 31 Woodlawn Rd., Dartmouth
  • Halifax West High School, 283 Thomas Raddall Dr., Halifax
  • Dartmouth High School, 95 Victoria Rd., Dartmouth
  • Sir John A MacDonald High School, 31 Scholars Rd., Upper Tantallon
  • Spring Garden Road Memorial Public Library, 5381 Spring Garden Rd., Halifax

Artifact boxes will be displayed at the following locations from today, Jan. 31 to Sunday, Feb. 6:

  • Scotia Square Mall, 5201 Duke St., Halifax
  • Halifax Forum, 2901 Windsor St., Halifax
  • Centennial Arena, 27 Vimy Ave., Halifax
  • Bedford Place Mall, 1658 Bedford Hwy., Bedford
  • BMO Centre, 61 Gary Martin Dr., Bedford
  • Park Lane Mall, 5657 Spring Garden Rd., Halifax
  • Sackville Sports Stadium, 409 Glendale Rd., Sackville
  • Cole Harbour Place, 51 Forest Hills Parkway, Dartmouth