Smoke-Free Beaches! No Ifs, Ands or Butts!

    LONDON, ON, Aug. 9 /CNW/ - The Southwest Area Youth Coalition (SW AYC)
invites the public to participate in Smoke-Free Beaches! No Ifs, Ands or
BUTTS! This unique event aims to raise awareness of the benefits of making
Southwestern Ontario's many beaches smoke-free. More than 120 teens aged 14 to
19 representing the Youth Action Alliances that serve Southwestern Ontario
will lead activities aimed at other youth on the main beach in Grand Bend on
Thursday, August 9th from noon until 4:00 p.m.
    "Even though beaches are outdoors, smoking and cigarette butt litter
negatively affects the environment and the health of people who are trying to
have some fun in the sun," says Jamie-Lee Arseneau, Peer Leader with the One
Life Crew, the Middlesex-London Health Unit's Youth Action Alliance.
"Secondhand smoke, even on the beach, can lead to cancer or heart and lung
disease. And contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts aren't very
biodegradable, their filters take more than a dozen years to break down."
    Activities planned for Smoke-Free Beaches! No Ifs, Ands, or BUTTS!
include a smoke-free sand sculpting competition, a Tiki Hut-style "speakers
corner" booth, an environmental information tent, relay races, a game that
simulates the effects of secondhand smoke and a display of 44 mock tombstones.
The tombstones represent the number of Ontarians who die each day from
tobacco-related illness. Peer Leaders are collecting signatures from beach
goers in support of their efforts.
    The Southwest Area Youth Coalition is an important part of the province's
Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy. The Coalition is made up of youth and adults from
Southwestern Ontario's nine public health units (Grey Bruce, Huron, Perth,
Middlesex-London, Oxford, Elgin-St. Thomas, Chatham-Kent, Lambton and
Windsor-Essex). Formed in 2005, the Coalition has been active in many
communities, organizing and staging unique events that raise awareness of the
dangers associated with tobacco products and the tobacco industry's marketing
tactics that target youth.
    "It is really great that 120 youth can get together for such a worthwhile
cause," says Abby Feagan, Peer Leader with the Rebels With A Cause, the Huron
County Health Unit's Youth Action Alliance.


    Donna Kosmack, Youth Specialist, SW Tobacco Control Area Network,
    Middlesex-London Health Unit

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Dan Flaherty, Communications
Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit, (519) 663-5317 ext. 2469 or (519)
617-0570 (cell)

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