Friday 18 October 2019

Young people urged to get filming and become part of Ireland's 'tobacco free' generation

Bill Browne

Youth groups from across Cork have been invited to become part of Ireland's 'tobacco-free' generation by getting involved in this year's annual 'X-HALE' short film competition. 

The competition, run by the Irish Cancer Society, encourages budding filmmakers between the ages of 10-24 to help spread the word about the impact of smoking and encourage their friends, family and communities to 'kick the weed' once and for all. 

Now in its ninth year, the initiative pairs the society with youth organisations across Ireland with the aim of workings towards a "smoke free generation". 

While the dangers of smoking have been highlighted through many public campaigns over the years, research has found that approximately 8% of young people in Ireland between the ages of 8-17 still smoke. 

With this in mind X-HALE aims to empower more young people to learn the facts about smoking, raise awareness of its dangers and share their findings through the mediums of film, art, music and drama. 

Through X-HALE, the Society provides funding and training to youth groups around the country to encourage young people to address tobacco use and empower them to take action in their communities by making a short film about the impact of smoking. 

The initiative has been so successful it was honoured by the European Commission the innovative social dimension it has taken and its peer to peer approach of working with young people at risk of smoking.

Sarah Chadwick, cancer prevention officer with the Society urged youth organisations across Cork to get involved "so we can work together to make Ireland's first smoke-free generation a reality".

"The success of the X-HALE programme highlights the potential that is there within communities for young people most affected by tobacco use and their supporting organisations to raise awareness of smoking, and drive change around tobacco at local, national and international level," said Ms Chadwick.

"This year the Irish Cancer Society is also offering a chance for participating young people and youth workers to become X-HALE Youth advocates and champions that will gain them even more experience in leading the way to a tobacco free generation," she added.  

The closing date for applications for funding is next Wednesday (February 27) and film entries will be accepted until Wednesday. May 22.  For more information visit or log onto