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EU Smokefree Youth Exchange
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Jul 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The issue is that smoking tobacco kills. The problem is how to reach young people before they try smoking and become addicted. Smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable illness and early death and the greatest health inequality between rich and poor. It is the most significant cause of premature death in the EU, responsible for nearly 700,000 deaths every year and 29% of young Europeans aged 15-24 smoke. EU Smokefree Youth Exchange is a project designed as early intervention with young people to help stop them from taking up smoking and spreading the message with their peers. Participants will gain skills in film, social media and campaigning which they can apply at a local, national and EU level. The project engaged young people in how they address smoking issues through the creative attraction of film, new media technologies and experiences of participation in representative democracy. The participants produced films through their experience, which aimed to deglamorise smoking and challenged their perceptions about smoking as ‘cool’. The project empoweredyoung people by engaging them in issues of advocacy, social and political campaigning to participate in a democratic life. The project will involved 24 young from The Deborah Hutton Campaign in England, No Excuse in Slovenia and Smart Youth in Sweden. The first activity that took place was an Advanced Planning Visit hosted by The Deborah Hutton Campaign in London, UK. Following this activity there was the first of two exchanges, in May 2016 The Deborah Hutton Campaign hosted youth participants from No Excuse (Slovenia) and Smart Youth (Sweden) participated in filmmaking, media & campaigning workshops. In the middle of the week the participants attended the British American Tobacco Annual General Meeting demonstration followed by a presentation to Members of Parliament, journalists, tobacco control specialists and other young people. The final exchange was hosted by No Excuse in Slovenia where they hosted young people from The Deborah Hutton Campaign (UK) and Smart Youth (Sweden) to take part in advocacy & campaigning workshops, and street mystery shopping visits. It was a chance for young people to discuss and debate how to move forward in each locality. The project utilisde a collaborative approach between participants through workshops, peer-to-peer training, debates, campaigns, seminars, presentations and media interactions (film, social media and photography). The impact of the project was that all those young people involved will not take up smoking and share this anti-smoking message first with their peers and family and overtime their communities. They have developed skills that will give them the confidence, knowledge and skills to be youth advocates in their countries on youth tobacco issues. This project has fostered a position to set up and maintain a EU Smokefree Youth Network where young people are leading the dialogue regarding tobacco control as it relates to youth across the EU.
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