Marking World No Tobacco Day, The Annual School Competition on Tobacco Prevention, in memory of the late Dr. Marcus, was held at ICA Headquarters, in collaboration with Shefi (the Psychology and Counseling Unit of the Ministry of Education), and the League against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.
Now in its 17th year, the Competition sums up a year's worth of tobacco prevention activity and life skills training in dozens of schools across the country.
Nine schools reached the finals; students, teachers and guidance counsellors presented reports, projects and fascinating personal stories.
One of the most memorable stories that stood out was that of Amir and Sami, who started smoking when they were young.
Amir began smoking in the 8th grade due to peer pressure, and in the 9th grade, he was already a heavy smoker (13 cigarettes a day). Thanks to the program, he stopped smoking, and is currently a "Health Ambassador" in the Amitim (Peers) Seminar, spearheading the fight against smoking in his school.
Sami started smoking hookah at family events, where family members invited him to partake in hookah smoking, as part of an initiation of togetherness, and later on he also began smoking cigarettes. By virtue of this program, he is in the process of quitting smoking. In addition, he currently serves as a table tennis coach at his school, and abstains from smoking by engaging in physical activity and undergoing counseling.
The late Dr. Marcus who served as Chairman of the League against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, was highly active in promoting smoking prevention and cessation, and also initiated smoking prevention activity and launched this competition in schools.
Members of the Marcus family honored the competition with their presence, and also awarded prizes to the winning schools.
Greetings were delivered at the ceremony by Ms. Karen Roth, Director of the Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco Abuse Prevention Unit at Shefi, of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Mor Zohar of the Israel League against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases and Mrs. Edna Peleg-Olevsky, ICA Spokesperson and Director of the Public Information and Education Dept.
The ICA is active in schools across Israel throughout the school year, delivering lectures, conducting activities and distributing public information materials on the health hazards of smoking.
The ICA, in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Education, developed unique educational kits under the slogan "clearing the smoke screen". The kits are geared towards children and prepubescent pupils - up to sixth grade. They were recently translated into Arabic and will soon be distributed to schools in Arab society.
A fast-paced and captivating clip on the harmful effects of smoking, produced by the ICA in collaboration with the 'Band' reality TV show on the Kids' Channel, has garnered 700,000 views on Youtube to date, and has accompanied numerous activities in schools this year.
The first-prize winners were:
Neve Menahem Primary School, Beer Sheva
Alef Comprehensive School Altsamih, Umm El Fahem
Neve Menahem School
The second-prize winners were:
Het Comprehensive School, Ashdod
Alberione School, Nazareth
Hamatmid Primary School, Ramat Gan
Beeri Primary School, Beer Sheva
The third-prize winners were:
Kfar Galim Youth Village
Al-Qasemi High School, Baka AlGarbiyeh
HaYovel Primary School, Beer Sheva
Kudos to all the program participants from across Israel for the wonderful and noteworthy activity, and hip hip hooray for all the winners!!!