Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad  Print this page

Youth centre helps kids butt out

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 04/05) - In an effort to help local youth drop their cigarette smoking habit, the Inuvik Youth Centre is hosting a Tobacco Free Program.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Lucy Thrasher with her smoking cessation kit, put together by the Nihtat Gwich'in Council. They packed each kit with lots of items to help take the smokers minds off of cigarettes while they are trying to quit. - Jason Unrau/NNSL photo

"Hopefully we can target kids who use the centre and are smoking," said Youth Centre co-ordinator Kelsey Dean. "At this stage we are still trying to recruit."

Each Monday night, starting at 7 p.m., kids can take part in a regular meeting to learn about the dangers of smoking and be encouraged to quit. As well, those who sign on to drop the habit can take part in free swims at the Family Centre. The first such free swim will be held this Friday (Nov. 4) at 6:30 p.m.

Dean says the next swim will be on Nov. 26 with more to follow in the next six months.

Those who decide to take the challenge and manage to stay smoke-free for six months will be eligible for prizes, courtesy of the territorial government, which initiated the Tobacco Free Program.

Lucy Thrasher, 17, who accepted the challenge to quit smoking on Monday night, knows it will be difficult, but worthwhile.

"I've been smoking for four years," she said, noting that she has a half-pack-a-day habit. "I'm starting to quit today."

According to a GNWT survey on tobacco use, released in January 2005, among the territories' residents, 41 per cent of teens between the ages of 15 and 19 are smoking on a regular basis.

That is more than double the national average of 18 per cent for the same age category.