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Stand Up For... a tobacco-free initiative

Stand Up For

Youth Opportunities

Looking for youth interested in implementing tobacco prevention initiatives and/or advocating for tobacco control policies in Durham Region.

The Health Department works collaboratively with community youth agencies and youth volunteers (between the ages of 13 and 24 and connected to a participating community youth agency) to engage youth in decreasing the use of tobacco and related risk factors in the community. The health promotion programming to plan and implement tobacco prevention initiatives/activities and advocate for tobacco control policies in Durham Region are currently being funded by the Smoke-Free Ontario's Youth Engagement Strategy. This work is important since the majority of smokers begin smoking in their teen years. All efforts to denormalize tobacco use and decrease negative role modeling are important to protect youth and young adults from future smoking and addiction.

Some Tobacco Facts

  • The tobacco industry needs to replace the 37,000 Canadians who die every year from tobacco use, so they turn to youth.
  • Youth are being targeted by the media through movies and new products/packaging. The tobacco industry uses creative marketing strategies like adding flavours and introducing new products that appeal to youth, to attract them to start using their products so they can continue to make money. Even social smoking can lead to an addiction.
  • Other types of tobacco products such as low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes, pipes, cigars, herbal cigarettes, hookahs, and chewing tobacco also cause cancer.
  • The majority of people who use tobacco wish they never started and would like to quit.
  • There are more than 7,000 chemicals in a single cigarette.
  • More than 800 Canadian non-smokers will die from second-hand smoke each year.
  • Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter found on beaches & in parks worldwide and can cause toxic effects in wildlife & small children if ingested.


Freeze the Industry

Freeze the Industry is a youth led coalition that is dedicated to stopping the tobacco industry from developing and marketing products that are enticing to youth. The group is calling for plain and standardized packaging on tobacco products in Canada.

Smoke-Free Movies

Lighting up in the movies provides a powerful message to youth, that smoking is a normal and even desirable activity. Smoking in the movies is often associated with:

  • Ruggedness in men, desirability in women
  • Rebellion (lighting up used as a symbol for challenging authority)
  • Stress relief (as tension builds, stars reach for a smoke)
  • Fun, in highly desirable social settings (even though in real life you can't smoke in public places)

Research shows that the more youth see smoking in movies, the more likely they are to start. However, the Ontario Film Review Board does not consider smoking and tobacco content when rating a movie. Currently, in Ontario, the Film Review Board determines ratings on films (i.e. General Admission, Parental Guidance, 18 Adult etc.).

The goal of the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies is to get tobacco out of youth-rated movies in Ontario to protect children and youth from exposure to on-screen tobacco.

Be in the know by getting the facts about smoking in movies and to learn which newly released movies are smoke-free, visit

Know What’s in Your Mouth

Know What’s in Your Mouth is a campaign designed by youth for youth to raise awareness about chewing tobacco. A key reason for the use of smokeless tobacco by young people is the misconception that non-cigarette forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, are not at all or less harmful. It is important to raise awareness among youth that smokeless tobacco products are not harmless.To receive a copy of the Know What’s In Your Mouth toolkit, please contact Durham Health Connection Line at 1-800-841-2729 or 905-666-6241.

How Can I Get Involved?

For more information, please contact