Just say no to smoking

Keshet High School and the Hadar Mall team up to fight smoking.

teen smoking 88 (photo credit: )
teen smoking 88
(photo credit: )
International No-Smoking Day took place in Israel and around the world on May 31, but an informal poll three days after the event revealed that most Israelis were unaware that such a day exists. Activities related to smoke-prevention were held throughout the country during the week of May 27 to June 1, leading up to and following International No-Smoking Day. Some attracted media attention, but most of the low-profile, scattered events did not. Within the framework of their ongoing activities to create a smoke-free Israel, the Health Parliament of Keshet High School in Jerusalem and all of its eighth grade coordinated its second annual anti-smoking fair at the Hadar Mall. The day's events were planned in cooperation with the mall and the Hadassah Women's Anti-Smoking Committee. Other participants were Magen David Adom, which set up a table to check blood pressure and to sign up the general public for free first aid courses. The Jerusalem Cancer Society had a "quit-smoking" table. Hadassah Women invited doctors to give free check-ups for smoking related ailments, and also presented an information desk which contained dozens of pamphlets on the hazards of smoking and other health issues. But the main participants were Keshet's eighth graders, who ran a number of booths including an anti-smoking poster competition, quizzes, a band, a stand to check for carbon monoxide. The pupils also created a "free expression wall" on which the public could write and draw on the subject of smoke free environments. All expenses related to the day's activities were paid for by the Hadar Mall, whose smoke-free mall campaign is in full swing. The guidance counselor and head of substance prevention programming at the Keshet High School, Richard Raphael Rothman, expressed an additional reason for his school's involvement in this community event: "Educationally, the rationale of the fair is to have the pupils understand that they have a responsibility to the general public and that their words and actions can influence people. They are tomorrow's leaders and responsible citizens. As the Keshet Health Parliament emphasized in its last meeting: 'A person who saves one life is as if he/she has saved an entire world.'" Pupils from the Keshet High School also visited the Knesset committee on Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention. The children prepared a workshop focusing on dilemmas related to smoking. Yarden Klayman presented a speech discussing the health risks posed by smoking and passive smoking. She asked the committee to support rigorous enforcement of the law prohibiting smoking in public places. Comparing cigarette-smoking to terrorist attacks, Klayman told the committee: "The same way a suicide bomber should not be allowed to enter a shopping mall, so too a cigarette should be denied access to the mall." Only one Knesset member and one assistant showed up for the committee meeting. According to Rothman, the rest of the committee heard the speech on tape at some later time.