Local schoolchildren are being encouraged to enter the ‘Create a Campaign’ competition, currently being run by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI), to combat underage smoking.
Recent figures indicate that smoking and related illnesses take an average of 10 years off a person’s life and in the UK it is estimated that 567 children start smoking every day. Statistics show those who started as children will find it most challenging to kick the habit.
The TSI believes that early intervention to avoid the detrimental effect caused by underage sales of tobacco products does work, and it is asking young people aged 12 to 15 to come up with their own campaign to educate both their peers and business about why the law on underage sales is important.
The scheme also aims to help youngsters understand the practical risks associated with using alcohol and tobacco.
Backing the competition, Angus South MSP Graeme Dey said the restrictions on the sale of these products is there for a good reason and he applauds the TSI’s work to ensure that they are being adhered to.
He said: “The tasks will require the pupils to put a great deal of thought into their campaigns, particularly with regard to how best to convey this important message to their peers.
“It is great that the winning submission may be rolled out across the UK.
“I would encourage pupils from the secondary schools in Kirriemuir, Arbroath, Carnoustie and Monifieth to enter and will be writing out to the relevant schools passing on details of the competition.”
Participants are being asked to work in teams to complete one of two briefs; the first to design a campaign aimed at their peers, teaching them the risks associated with underage sales, and the second targets local businesses to encourage them to comply with their legal obligation of not selling restricted products to children.
The two winning teams will receive £1,000 for their school and there is the possibility that their campaign will be rolled out in their local authority or used as a blueprint throughout the UK.