The St. Mary Athletic Council (SMAC) applied and received a Youth 4 Action grant from the Canadian Cancer Society selecting the theme Big Tobacco Lies! to increase awareness of the targeting of youth for tobacco products.
Big Tobacco Lies! SMAC project leaders Jacob Bresolin, Keven Brennan, Jessica Dekker, Abbey Maillet, Meira Morphet and Lauren Perron planned, created and coordinated a Big Tobacco Lies! slide show presentation for a Health Action Team (HAT) school-wide assembly on Mental Wellness with guest speaker Olympian Hockey player Laura Fortino.
The Big Tobacco Lies! SMAC crew addressed the manipulative marketing tactics used by the tobacco industry, their use of worldwide child labour, the reasons for plain packaging on tobacco products and the uncertain health impacts of e-cigarettes and vaping. The SMAC speakers encouraged their peers to be confident and not be manipulated by the big tobacco companies who target them.
While students were entering the gym to be seated, the SMAC crew handed out 100 bright yellow flyers and near the conclusion, asked the flyer holders to all stand up. They used it as an example that over 100 Canadians die every day from tobacco related illnesses and that each and every student was a target.
The assembly was followed the next day with a buy-in full civvies day with proceeds earmarked for the Canadian Cancer Society, the Cancer Assistance Program (CAP) and St. Patrick's Church in inner city Hamilton. The SMAC crew promoted the theme of “Hello Yellow, Wear Yellow” and encouraged the school community to wear something yellow to honour a friend, relative or cancer survivor. In period 1, they delivered yellow daffodil pins to students and staff to wear. With over $1,100 raised from the event, the SMAC crew was pleased to present the Canadian Cancer Society with $300.
The Big Tobacco Lies! SMAC crew hosted a “Knock the Targets Off Your Back” Bowling event in the school foyer over the lunch periods to increase awareness for plain packaging on tobacco products. Students signed over 100 request cards for plain packaging, viewed various displays, picked up promotional pins, pens and Frisbees, and had fun bowling.
The Big Tobacco Lies! SMAC crew completed their project goals by visiting Grade 9 Physical Education and Science classes with a short slideshow on tobacco industry manipulation through e-vaping products. Specially designed chic-let gum packages with HAT-SMAC messages were handed out to the students.
The Big Tobacco Lies! SMAC crew would like to thank the school Public Health Nurses Jessie Hoffman and Heidi Berry for their support and guidance with the project.