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Effective comms for tobacco control

Smoke & Mirrors

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Smoke & Mirrors is a unique project which highlights the negative practices of the tobacco industry and encourages young people to look at tobacco differently. It explores issues such as child labour, deforestation, unethical marketing and media and advertising – issues that most young people will probably never have considered or associated with the tobacco industry.

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If you’re thinking about developing an anti-tobacco youth project in your locality and would like strategic support we can offer practical guidance and direction on the most effective, proven ways to get the most from a youth engagement programme.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of youth advocacy and what will drive the most impact with young people we can share knowledge and practical guidance. We also have experience in commissioning peer research projects including independent analysis and evaluation in a number of areas including marketing, promotion and media references.

If you would like to understand how Smoke & Mirrors can best be utilised in both schools and community settings we offer tailored workshops for teachers, youth workers and other health and education professionals whose area of work brings them into regular contact with young people.

In 2010 we developed the Smoke & Mirrors Resource Pack which is now being used in schools and youth settings to bring negative tobacco industry practices to life in creative ways to capture young people’s hearts and minds. The resource pack is available for use in schools and works alongside the seethroughtheillusion.co.uk website. The resource pack explores emotive, real life issues which really engage and capture the imagination of young people. The aim is to empower young people and encourage them to see tobacco in a completely new way.

The pack contains 15 activities covering 4 broad subjects: What’s it all about, Marketing, The Role of the media and The Global Perspective.

To allow for maximum opportunity to engage with the anti-tobacco agenda, the pack has full cross curriculum links both in terms of the national curriculum. Included within the pack is an integrated incentive scheme which allows young people, classes, youth clubs or even whole schools to recognise and reward their progress towards seeing through the illusion at 4 levels, as they undertake the different activities in the pack.

Teachers or youth workers felt that the pack dealt with relatively neglected issues like the moral and ethical impact of tobacco industry practices especially in a global context. The focus on tobacco industry practices rather than the health aspects of smoking led to possibilities for engaging both smokers and non-smokers who may be disillusioned with traditional anti-smoking interventions. Independent evaluation feedback carried out by Lancaster University of the Smoke & Mirrors resource pack.

‘It’s important to give young people a voice. It’s a really important subject because it’s so insidious – your whole problem is that smoking doesn't kill people for twenty five, thirty years, so it’s very difficult to tell somebody to stop doing something now which might damage you in the future.

Personally, I don’t like to show people smoking in any of my programmes. By not having a hero with a cigarette in their hand and showing you can be cool without having to resort to things like that is key to this campaign”. Hollyoaks Director, Phil Redmond who helped young film makers produce three films exposing negative industry practices any aired in cinemas.

“Smoking has always been an issue I feel very strongly about as I’ve seen how it affects the people I love and are close to me.

I was always anti-smoking but I’d never had the opportunity to do anything about this; it was only when I heard about Smoke & Mirrors through my youth workers, who invited the project leader to speak to us about her work, that I saw an opportunity to become involved in something that I felt passionate about.

Working with Smoke & Mirrors has given me so many opportunities. I've travelled abroad to attend conferences, spoke at the House of Commons, I’ve attended the BAT (British American Tobacco) AGM, met new people at residential weekends, appeared on TV and taken part in multiple interviews and won prestigious awards but most importantly I’ve been the voice for other young people on smoking and tobacco. I’m glad I’ve been able to my do my part to eradicate smoking for the future generations. I hope I have done them justice in the work I’ve done for them and I hope to carry on working with them even more in the future. Adan Loughlin, Smoke & Mirrors youth ambassador.

“We used the Smoke & Mirrors resource pack with our pupils to educate and inform them about tobacco industry practices. Whilst many of our students had some idea about smoking being bad for your health, they were not at all aware that the tobacco industry is involved in child labour or that they use clever branding deliberately targeted at teenagers and this really surprised them. Our students really enjoyed learning more about what happens and it has helped them view the tobacco industry differently. I also hope that it has helped to persuade some of our students never to start smoking in the first place.” Sarah Andrew, Teacher, Manchester Enterprise Academy

"The Tobacco Industry is determined to attract new young smokers who will become addicted to their products. So it is vital that we hear the views from young people about how they feel about these attempts to manipulate them to take up the habit of smoking. We listen to what the young people have to say and will act upon the lessons we learn from them." Peter Elton, Lead Doctor for Tobacco Control in Greater Manchester

“We’ve been supporting our students through Stoptober and have held several assemblies including one for female students to explore how smoking can affect your personal appearance. Students have taken part in discussions about the health impacts and cost of smoking through drama and arts classes and other pupils have created a hard hitting art installation which has featured in the academy.

“It’s been really encouraging to see how our students have got on board and supported the Stotopber campaign and we hope that it has made some of our students think twice about smoking.” James Eldon, Manchester Enterprise Academy Principal

The speakers were so professional and so passionate. The discussion sessions went much better than I was expecting and I think that was because the presenters did a great job of motivating the discussion. Many thanks for your input, calm professionalism, focus, passion and attention to detail. Response from Jane Roberts, Tobacco Lead, Blackpool NHS who attended the ‘Turning off the tap of new young smokers’ event organised by TFF

Thank you for a most excellent conference. Well organised, great speakers and coordination. Well worth coming to and we met ‘some great people. Response from participants who attended the ‘Turning off the tap of new young smokers’ event organised by TFF Lilian and Ian Stewart, Your Choice…Health and Wellbeing


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