Youth Singing Smoke-Free Tune At Sarnia Bayfest

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Much like it did last summer when it traveled to Grand Bend to promote smoke-free beaches, the One Life Crew is taking its message on the road again, this time to drum up support for a smoke-free music industry.

Youth Peer Leaders from the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Youth Action Alliance, the One Life Crew will join 70 other youth leaders from across southwestern Ontario today at Sarnia’s Bayfest music festival as part of a greater effort to encourage youth to Breathe Easy, Rock Hard. While spreading the word about second-hand smoke, even at outdoor events, the group will also be asking those who attend to sign postcards urging broadcaster MuchMusic, to not show new music videos that feature tobacco use.

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"When youth see their favourite musicians and artists smoking on stage or in videos, it gives the mistaken impression that smoking is cool," says Miriam Cummings, Peer Leader with the One Life Crew. "The reality is that smoking leads to serious health problems including heart and lung disease and cancer. By taking videos that depict smoking off the air, MuchMusic could show itself as a real leader in the effort to keep young people smoke-free."

At 1:00 p.m. this afternoon, members of the One Life Crew will join other peer leaders outside the main Bayfest concert gates, where they will encourage youth to participate in games, hand out prizes and provide information about the tobacco industry and the products it sells. This is also where concertgoers will have the opportunity to sign the post cards that will be sent to MuchMusic in the fall.

While organizers hope to collect 1,000 signatures by the time musical performer Fergie hits the stage this afternoon, the Breathe Easy, Rock Hard campaign doesn’t end at Bayfest. The goal is to continue gathering signatures across the region over the course of the summer sending 10,000 signed postcards to MuchMusic this fall.

Like its counterparts in other health unit jurisdictions, the One Life Crew hopes the broadcaster will hear its message and stop showing new videos with tobacco use by December 31, 2009.

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