Up In Smoke: NGOs Call On Youngsters To Stay Away From Tobacco

June 1, 2009 | Print | Email Email | Comments | Category: Health

Chinese local NGO Chaotie Center has jointly held a forum with Save the Children in Kunming, the capital city of Yunan province in southwest China, to call on youngsters to keep away from tobacco.

According to local media reports, Chaotie Center began an initiative in February 2009 collecting tobacco control themed photographs from students at seven middle schools in Kunming and Yuxi. So far, it has received hundreds of photographs from the students which try to air a unified message to adults: please do provide a tobacco-free learning environment, family environment and social environment for the children.

Li Yani, an official from Chaotie Center, states that more and more youngsters are now trying smoking and the number of girls smoking is also on the rise. Zhao Zhonghua, director of Save the Children (UK) China Program Department, told local media that the first thing that needs to be done to control tobacco among youngsters is to guide them in learning about peer pressure and train them in making sound judgments and managing their emotions properly.

Statistics provided by the media reports state that in 2008, about 15 million teenagers in China were smoking and no less than 40 million others were occasionally trying cigarettes. Among the many factors luring them to smoke, peer pressure was said to be the key one and this was also the focus of the tobacco control department.

Chaotie Center is said to be the first NGO in Yunnan province engaged in tobacco control. Chaotie Center launched a tobacco control program in June 2008 in hope of pushing forward China's commitment to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and raising the public's awareness of the harm of tobacco.

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