Two youth groups from Cork have taken top awards at the Irish Cancer Society’s X-HALE Film Festival, an annual event designed to combat smoking among young people.
Macroom Youthreach won the Overall Senior Category Award as well as the Online Award for their film Nicotine Nation. St Joseph’s Youth Programme Foroige, Mayfield, were runners-up in the Junior Category for their film Mirrors.
In total, 43 youth groups from around the country attended the event which took place at the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, Dublin.
Hundreds of young people gathered at the Festival to view the 47 films being showcased on the big screen.
The films highlighted the harmful effects of smoking. Respiratory problems, reduced physical fitness, displeasing aesthetical effects and financial implications were all explored on the big screen.
The event also highlighted a recent study that shows a significant drop in the number of young people smoking in the past decade.
According to the HBSC (Health Behaviours of School Aged Children), fewer than 12% of young people now smoke, compared to 21% in 1998. The figures show that Ireland is on track to become virtually tobacco free.
John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society, said there had been a cultural shift in Ireland into how smoking is regarded and he praised the work of the youth groups involved in the festival.
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