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Anti smoking play tours Highland schools

Issued: 12 Jun 2008

NHS Highland and The Highland Council are working together to take key messages to young people about the effects of smoking.

From June 9th to 20th 2008, Pyramid Theatre Company will be touring its' play, Whatever, around schools in Highland. The play, acted by a four person ensemble cast, dramatises the issues that children and young people face in choosing not to smoke. More than two thousand pupils from fifteen secondary schools across Highland will watch the play during the two week tour.

Director of Public Health for NHS Highland Dr. Eric Baijal said: "There are good reasons why we need to prevent our teenagers starting to smoke. Evidence shows that the younger you start smoking the more you smoke in adulthood, the harder it is to quit, and the more harm you do to your health. A child who starts smoking at 14 or younger is fifteen times more likely to die of lung cancer than someone who never smokes."

NHS Highland's Tobacco Co-ordinator Susan Birse added: "Although teenage smoking rates have decreased in our area over the last few years, smoking remains a problem with 12% of 15 year olds considered to be regular smokers"

The Highland Council's Head of Education, Donnie MacDonald stated: "All Health and Wellbeing programmes delivered in schools aim to use different ways of communicating key messages across the curriculum. As well as delivering work in the classroom it's important to use the powerful medium of drama and the arts to support the different ways in which young people learn. We regard health and wellbeing as a key priority for staff and pupils as we build on the excellent work of all our Health Promoting Schools in Highland."

Among other key messages the play explores how smoking can affect self-image, the highly addictive nature of nicotine, the struggle to give up, and health issues. School nurses and health professionals will be available after the performances to answer any questions the young people might have, and to support schools in follow-up work.

The tour has been organised by Louise Jones, Health Promoting Schools Manager for The Highland Council and NHS Highland, and Lynn Johnson, Arts Links Officer, Highland Council. Funding for the project has been provided by NHS Highland, through the tobacco strategy.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme