|YOUTH HEALTH FORUM TO FOCUS ON SMOKING AND VAPING|
MONTREAL, APRIL 27 , 2015- The English Montreal School Board, the Youth Coalition Against Smoking (a movement coordinated by the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health) and the Public Health Director of the CIUSSS du Centre-Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal will co-present an important youth forum on Wednesday, April 29 on the subject of tobacco use. It will take place at St. Pius X Career Centre (9955 Papineau Street North, in the library) in Ahuntsic from 8:30 a.m. to 1 pm. and include the presence of Grade 10 students from 10 EMSB high schools.
EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini notes that plans call for a number of forums such as this on different health issues, this first one dealing with smoking/vaping and the tobacco industry’s constant efforts to win youth over as new clients. “This all falls into the backdrop of massive cuts in healthcare in Quebec, which will end funding for many programs directly geared towards youth in the area of prevention and promotion,” she said. “It also coincides with the revision of Bill 112, which governs tobacco use in Quebec, and with the expiration of the Canada Health and Services Act, which governs the parameters and provides the funding for our health services. So it is a time of much movement!”
David-Roger Gagnon, the EMSB’s Program Development Officer for Healthy Schools says, “students are directly affected by these issues, yet are too young to vote. The health forum is a platform for brainstorming, for expressing ideas and for figuring out ways to communicate those ideas for the betterment of their society.”
The forum will provide students an opportunity to interact with their peers through small group activities as well as plenary sessions designed to give voice to their concerns regarding tobacco use, the industry and public policy. Animators will be present to help students find creative ways to address the issues both on-site, and afterwards in their own schools. Students will also be encouraged to come up with a collective message to be delivered to Lucie Charlebois, Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection and Public Health. Following the forum, student representatives, along with the Spiritual Community Animator for their school, will be asked to facilitate a post-forum lunch-hour activity featuring a “Q&A” card challenge.
"In Montréal, one in five Secondary V students already uses tobacco products and this is a call to action to us all", underlines Dr. Richard Massé, director of public health. "This health forum is an excellent strategy not only to raise awareness among youth about the unsavoury marketing strategies used by the tobacco industry, but ultimately to empower these students to take a stand in favour of a healthier society and inspire their peers to act as well."
Michael J. Cohen