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Youngsters learn the truth on smoking.

YOUNGSTERS have been taking part in an event aimed at ensuring they stay clear of tobacco.

Around 800 youngsters were invited to an event at the Sage in Gateshead to learn more about the health dangers associated with smoking.

The event was held by Gateshead Youth Assembly and Gateshead Council.

The youngsters, all from secondary schools across the borough, learned how the tobacco industry deliberately targets people their age to take up the habit. Jess Leighton, chairman of Gateshead Youth Assembly said: "Gateshead has suffered long enough the effects of smoking and we aren't prepared to see our generation suffer the same.

"We want to see clear skies and clean streets and healthy people."

The event was backed by Ailsa Rutter, director of North East anti-smoking group Fresh. She said: "Smoking is an addiction that usually starts in childhood and that is why we need to do more to protect young people from tobacco industry promotion. The industry spends tens of millions of pounds promoting itself every year, from the shiny logos on packs to sponsoring music festivals and social media." North East-based theatre company Gibber performed The Truth, an educational play commissioned by Newcastle Primary Care Trust, to highlight the behaviour of the tobacco industry.

Former Olympic swimmer Chris Cook also took part to emphasise the importance of staying clear of tobacco.

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BACKING Ailsa Rutter from Fresh
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 13, 2011
Words:230
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