Students at a Haverhill school were taught some stark truths about smoking when a new youth anti-smoking service came to the town for the first time last week.
The school was visited by Anna Keane, Live Well Suffolk’s youth campaign co-ordinator for smoking prevention as part of the launch of CTRL Z.
CTRL Z aims to educate youngsters of the health implications of smoking in order to stop them taking up the habit and also to make them aware of the way in which tobacco companies market their products to teenagers.
Students had their carbon monoxide levels tested by breathing into a monitor, used peep boards that showed what sort of damaging chemicals are in cigarettes, read fact cards about smoking and its affects and discovered the impact of smoking on their health and finances.
A ‘tar jar’, which contained the amount of tar collected in a smoker’s lungs over a one year period, was also on display.
Details were also displayed of the tactics used by tobacco companies to influence youngsters into taking up smoking, like giving out cigarettes at beach volleyball games - at events organised by the tobacco companies themselves - to young people in Africa during their school holidays.
Of the day, Anna said: “I was getting them to think about the lies of tobacco companies. CTRL Z is the undo button on computers so it’s about undoing the influence of the tobacco industry and how it’s trying to influence the new generation of young people and getting them into thinking how can we be a part of stopping this.
“That’s the idea of the project and how it’s going to develop.”
Year 7 student Jess Muggeridge, 12, visited the event and said: “My mind is already made up. I’m definitely not going to smoke.”