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Whatever you do, just don’t smoke: message to our youth

Within 20 minutes of giving up tobacco smoking, your heart rate decreases; within five years your risk of a stroke has significantly reduced; in 10 years the risk of lung cancer is halved; and in 15 years your risk of heart disease is the same as a non-smoker.

These are the kinds of facts the Youth Solutions Youth Advisory Group are sharing with their peers and the community as part of their #whyichoose campaign to address tobacco smoking.

Re-launched this month, the annual campaign is being rolled out across Macarthur and Wingecarribee with the aim of starting a positive conversation about the benefits of not smoking, or making safer decisions around tobacco smoking.

Camden Council is supporting the campaign by providing funding for community engagement stalls at the region’s schools.

Supported by the Youth Solutions team, the campaign is led by the charity’s volunteer Youth Advisory Group (YAG), which is also recruiting for its next intake of members.

Youth Solutions Youth Advisory Group members chalked up their #whyichoose messages, sharing the reasons why they choose to make a safer choice in relation to tobacco smoking.

Youth Solutions health promotion coordinator Sam Young, who leads the YAG to implement the #whyichoose campaign, said: “We encourage all young people and the wider community to get behind the #whyichoose campaign.

“The campaign encourages people to identify the positive decisions they can make in relation to tobacco smoking. This could include not to smoke at all, to support a friend who is quitting, to take steps to reduce your own smoking or to be mindful of not smoking around others,’’ Ms Young said.

“More broadly, we are hoping that #whyichoose will help link people to reliable information about the harms of tobacco smoking and where to get help and support.

“Our YAG are doing a great job rolling out this campaign and we encourage all young people to join the conversation and have their say in the campaign survey.”

The campaign survey, which can be found online here: aims to collect information about tobacco smoking habits and exposure for young people in the region.

Youth Solutions chief executive officer Geraldine Dean echoed Ms Young’s call for the region’s young people to have their say in the campaign survey and to access the information and support on the #whyichoose campaign website

“We know that tobacco smoking remains an issue for young people in our region and through this campaign, Youth Solutions and our YAG hope to raise greater awareness of the health impacts of smoking, the benefits of tobacco cessation and the supports available to help people quit or cut back,” Mrs Dean said.

“It’s so important that we as a community support people with their quit attempts and encourage their progress.”

People are also encouraged to share the reasons they choose to make safer choices about tobacco smoking on Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #whyichoose to brand their content.

For more statistics and facts around tobacco smoking, information about the benefits of quitting or the support services available, visit the Youth Solutions #whyichoose website:

The Youth Solutions Youth Advisory Group (YAG) is a voluntary group of young people aged 16 and 25 years, who live, work, study or spend their recreation time in Macarthur or Wingecarribee.

The YAG meets once a month to help identify issues facing young people and develop solutions and strategies to address these issues.

YAG members are also trained up as Peer Educators to assist Youth Solutions in delivering health promotion education workshops to their peers in line with the Peer Enrichment and Empowerment Project (PEEP).

With the support of the Youth Solutions team, the YAG also implement the community health promotion campaign, #whyichoose.

Applications for the next intake of YAG are now open. For more information, contact Youth Solutions’ health promotion coordinator Sam Young on 4628 2319 or download the application form from and return it via email to before May 9.

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