No Smoking Day

09 March 2016

To mark No Smoking Day (Wednesday 9th March) P4 pupils from Friends' School Lisburn Preparatory Department have been learning about the damaging and deadly effects of smoking as part of Action Cancer’s ‘Primary Health Action’ programme, delivered in partnership with Centra NI.

The Primary Health Action programme has been designed for Primary 4- 7 children and uses an innovative and interactive workshop which aims to empower children to become healthier, with both practical and discussion based elements. The programme is delivered to hundreds of Primary Schools throughout Northern Ireland every year. The specific messages of this programme are in line with the NI curriculum and focus on smoking and alcohol awareness, healthy eating, taking care in the sun and the benefits of physical activity.

During the no smoking session, children have the opportunity to increase their knowledge and awareness of the dangers of starting smoking. Interactive resources including pig's lungs, a chemical display board, a tar jar and ‘Clem’s phlegm’ help children to visualise the harmful effects of starting smoking.

Cigarettes contain over 4,000 toxic chemicals, many of which are proven to cause cancer. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many different illnesses and diseases. Smoking causes life-threatening illnesses such as lung disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer. In Northern Ireland there are 1,134 people diagnosed with cancer of the lung, trachea and bronchus. Every year 926 people die as a result of this form of cancer.

Alexandra Neill aged 8 from Hillsborough said; “Today I learnt that smoking can turn your teeth yellow and your lungs black. You need only 3 cigarettes to get fully addicted to smoking. I’m never going to try it!”

Daniel Grimason, also 8 from Hillsborough added, “I will never try smoking, there are 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette. Your lungs can turn black from the tar and smoking can cause cancer. The lungs looked all diseased and they were really disgusting!”

Cathy Aughey, P4 Teacher at Friends' School Lisburn Preparatory Department explained the benefit of taking part in the Primary Health Action programme; “The Action Cancer session was really informative. Smoking is a difficult topic to handle with children but the whole thing was targeted at an appropriate level and didn’t scare the children too much. The learning will help them make informed decisions in the future. I’d highly recommend the Health Action programme to other schools.”

For more info about Action Cancer and Centra NI’s Health Action programmes, which range from nursery to secondary school level, contact [email protected] or call 028 9080 3357.