Raising awareness among youths to reduce the positive image and attractiveness towards smoking
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Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Corresponding author
Laksi Mathanakumar   

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Mihinthale, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A247
Over 20000 people die from tobacco- related illnesses annually in Sri Lanka. Youth is a crucial target audience for tobacco marketing. This study was conducted during a national level exhibition which was held in Nikeweratiya in Sri Lanka 2018 with approximately 1500 youth participants for 5 days, from different areas in Sri Lanka.

To raise the awareness among youths to reduce the positive image and attractiveness towards tobacco usage.

Sample was selected purposively to select the target audience. Groups were divided based on gender. To evaluate their basic knowledge about tobacco related effects, questions were asked from them. Intervention was carried out with innovative activities which reflect how the social media negatively influence in smoking, the appearance of smokers, how smoking causes to poor family conditions were mainly discussed with them. Video clips and pictures used to demonstrate the effects of tobacco smoking like non-communicable diseases, sexual impotence. Then, they were guided to identify the determinants that affect to tobacco consumption among youths. Activities were suggested to reduce the tobacco consumption as a youth group. A post evaluation was carried out after the discussion by asking questions as a game.

Media influences, peer influences and positive attraction on tobacco are the major determinants identified. The participants showed a tendency of improving awareness of harmful effects on smoking. Activities were planned by the participants to reduce the tobacco such as showing the harmfulness of tobacco by videos to school students and hanging posters which are related to health harm at public places to reduce the positive image and attractiveness towards smoking.

Empowering youths to act as change agents in changing positive attitudes on smoking in communities can be done through raising their understanding and giving them the ownership to decide actions.

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