Tobacco prevention in Greek school community
 
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1
Institute of Public Health, The American College of Greece, Greece
2
George D. Behrakis Resarch Lab, Hellenic Cancer Society, Greece
3
Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens, Greece
Publish date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A961
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ABSTRACT
Background and challenges to implementation:
Tobacco prevention and cessation are two key approaches of tackling the tobacco epidemic. Nearly all first use of tobacco occurs before secondary school graduation; hence if adolescents can be kept away from smoking, most of them will never start it. The school community, though, consists of a range of age groups with different needs and approach requirements.

Intervention or response:
Substantial public health efforts in Greece have begun since 2009 to prevent tobacco use focusing especially on youth. An educational campaign, called “SmokeFreeGreece” which emphasizes the importance of following a healthy lifestyle linked to non- smoking one has been developed and implemented in Greece. This campaign includes intervention seminars about tobacco use for school students between 10-17 years old, “train the trainer” workshops for teachers, annual school student conferences called "Education for A Smoke Free World", the production of educational material addressed to both students and teachers and collaboration with Symplefsi, an NGO, that improves the living conditions of the inhabitants of the remote Greek islands. More specifically, three individual interventions were created to address tobacco use in ages 10-12, 13-15 and 16-17 years old. This methodological framework indicates the importance of creating a “tailor fitted programme”.

Results and lessons learnt:
The educational seminars offered in specially designed centers have served over 26,000 students and 1,750 teachers. The material has been distributed to date more than 285,000 Greek school students, throughout Greece including visits to 13 remote islands of the Aegean.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
The educational campaign has reached a substantial percentage of the Greek school population. As a motivational buffer to continue our efforts, during the years of the campaign, smoking prevalence among 16- 24 year olds has decreased by 33.3 % (Hellenic Statistical Authority, 2016) and we do believe that our activities are related with this reduction.

eISSN:1617-9625