Dragon to ‘smoke out’ winner in anti-smoking poster competition for schools

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Schools across the district are being encouraged to get pupils involved in a national competition to be judged by TV ‘dragon’, Duncan Bannatyne, to mark the 30th year of No Smoking Day, a campaign run by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Pupils between the ages of six and twelve will be motivated to consider the cost of smoking by drawing posters of what they would do if they were given £49, an average smokers’ spend on cigarettes per week.

The BHF, which runs the campaign, will award the winning pupils T-shirts printed with their very own poster design and their school will receive £210 in vouchers, the equivalent of an average smokers monthly spend on cigarettes.

Around 200,000 children and young people in England start smoking each year, proving the importance of teaching children as early as possible about the health and financial impact of smoking.

Duncan Bannatyne, who will be judging entries in the lead up to No Smoking Day on Wednesday March 13 said: “As a former smoker myself I’m delighted to be judging the schools poster competition in the 30th year of No Smoking Day.

“I’m a true believer in teaching children about the cost of smoking from an early age as I think that sometimes, children are informed of the health risks but don’t always realise how much the habit costs.

“This opportunity will encourage children to get creative and really consider what they could buy from just one week’s spend on cigarettes. Hopefully all schools will get on board to get this important message across and I won’t be judging as harshly as in my ‘dragon days’ either, so all entries are welcomed with open arms!”

Teachers are expected to inspire children with ideas of what they could put the money towards, from a family trip to the cinema, swimming lessons or even buying their pets food for a month.

Vishnee Sauntoo, No Smoking Day campaign manager at the BHF, said: “Schools are the perfect way to help spread the word about No Smoking Day. A shocking number of adults start smoking before they turn 18 showing how important it is to make sure young people fully understand the risks from the very first opportunity.

“No Smoking Day provides a great chance to talk to young people in a fun and engaging way about the risks of smoking and hopefully this year’s competition will help highlight the impact it has on your bank account.

“We’ve had some great activities carried out in schools in previous years, from simple quizzes and games through to art and sculpture competitions. So if you’ve not taken part before, get involved with the poster competition for 2013.”

Entries will be accepted from individuals or groups of children until February 27th, when the campaign is launched and judging will begin. All posters must contain the words ‘No Smoking Day 2013’, or a recreation of the campaign logo which mirrors this year’s theme of, ‘swap fags for swag’. This aims to encourage smokers to think about the financial benefits of quitting, saving an average smoker approximately £7 a day, £49 a week, £210 a month and £2,555 a year if they quit.

All entries including entrant’s details should be sent to: ‘No Smoking Day Competition’, Freepost Plus RSAC-ZHER-YTZL, British Heart Foundation, Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London, NW1 7AW.

Each year, the No Smoking Day campaign is responsible for helping more than 750,000 people across the UK attempt to quit on the day, and for inspiring another 1.5 million to seek out information to help them quit in future.

More information on the schools poster competition can be found at nosmokingday.org.uk/education

Schools can join us on twitter by using the hashtag #NoSmokingDay and download our free organiser’s pack including posters, leaflets and a handbook - available for schools and colleges to help staff organise No Smoking Day events and activities at nosmokingday.org.uk