Two of Wales’s leading health charities have today announced a new partnership which will build on the innovative work that ASH Wales undertakes to tackle tobacco use amongst young people.

The partnership will benefit young people aged 13-25 who want to access up to date factual information and advice on tobacco use and how to quit smoking.

The partnership between public health charity ASH Wales and cancer charity Tenovus is being announced to celebrate Kick Butts Day which takes place on 6th April 2011. Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers young people to Stand Out, Speak Up and Seize Control against Big Tobacco and the harm that tobacco use causes. Young people from schools, youth and community groups across Wales are being encouraged to hold events and activities to raise awareness of the harm that tobacco causes and the need for the tobacco industry to recruit young people as replacement smokers for the adults who quit or die from their addiction.

In a survey of approximately 100 young people aged 11-17 years across South Wales 60% agreed that there was not enough help and information about smoking specifically for young people, whilst 80% agreed that a project about tobacco run by young people was a good idea.

Welcoming the partnership, ASH Wales Chief Executive Tanya Buchanan said:

“I am delighted that we have a new alliance with Tenovus which will see both organisations working closely together. Tenovus has been an active member of the Wales Tobacco Control Alliance and this new partnership will further build on the collaborative approach we take as an organisation to increase our effectiveness with this target group. If we want to connect with young people and ensure they make informed choices about tobacco use we must do so in a way that is most relevant and appropriate to them. We must use creative and innovative ways to reach the 14% of 15 year old girls and 9% of 15 year old boys who are regularly smoking in Wales.”

Dr Ian Lewis, Head of Research at Tenovus said:

“Tenovus delivers unique support services to cancer patients and their families. As part of our prevention and health education campaigns, we aim to find ways to reduce the incidence of cancer in Wales.

"We are really pleased to work alongside ASH Wales and help support a great project such as Ffaith which helps young people quit smoking. With 90% of long term smokers starting before the age of 18 and smoking being the cause of 90% of lung cancers, Wales biggest cancer killer, it is vital that this programme continues.”

One of the young campaigners, Kelly, 18, from Newport, commented:

“I am really pleased that soon young people in Wales will be able to learn the truth about tobacco and what a devastating impact it has on people’s lives. When you are young you don’t often think about your health in years to come but since becoming a peer health promoter with ASH Wales I am now better informed about the health effects of smoking and try to convey my knowledge to others. It is really important that young people like myself start to take positive steps to campaign on issues that affect us directly and smoking is a major issue young people should be concerned about.”