Competition highlights cost of smoking to youngsters

Children are being encouraged to enter an anti-smoking competition.
Children are being encouraged to enter an anti-smoking competition.
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Young school pupils from across Northamptonshire are taking part in a national competition aimed at getting them to think about the cost of smoking.

The poster-drawing contest is aimed at youngsters aged between six and 12 and involves pupils considering what they would do if they were given £49 – an average smoker’s weekly spend on cigarettes.

The competition will be judged by Dragons Den entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne and marks the 30th year of No Smoking Day (Wednesday, March 13) a campaign run by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The BHF 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.

According to the BHF, about 200,000 children and young people in England start smoking each year.

Duncan Bannatyne said: “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.”

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.

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.

For more information visit www.nosmokingday.org.uk/education.