New program developed to reduce tobacco use in youth and young adults
Tyllore Martelle - Staff Writer
The newly developed Tobacco Reduction in Youth Partnerships (TRYPs) is a program that was created by the Northwest Tobacco Control Area Network to offer training, planning, and financial support to schools and community groups working with people 13 to 24 years old.
Funding available through TRYPs can be used for activities or projects that focus on reducing commercial tobacco use by young people in Northwestern Ontario. Successful applicants to the program have the opportunity to collaborate with local public health and youth engagement staff in order to plan and host activities that promote the objective of reducing tobacco use.
Kellie Milani, the Youth Development Specialist with the Northwest Tobacco Control Area Network explained why the TRYPs program is so important. “Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death with rates of use being higher in Northwestern Ontario than in the rest of the province. Through the TRYPs program, we are able to work with a variety of groups and thus have the opportunity to influence many young people because of the program’s flexibility.
“Programming is based on the needs of each individual group and its participants and is supported through collaboration with public health and the Northwest Tobacco Control Area Network.”
In order for an organization to be eligible for funding they must meet the requirements of having a primary focus to reduce tobacco use in youth or young adults, projects that are focused on traditional tobacco, and they must collaborate with public health organizations and strive to achieve success together.
“If you already have an idea for an activity, or even if you don’t, simply complete a brief online proposal that can be found on the health unit website – nwhu.on.ca.
“Following this, you will be contacted by public health youth engagement staff who will support you through the process. After submitting a proposal, groups will be contacted by their public health unit youth engagement staff to find out more about the group, its members, and their interest in the program.
“If the group already has an idea, and even if they don’t, they will be supported to create a plan that integrates tobacco education into their current activities or to develop activities external from their regular programming that highlight a smoking reduction message.
“A wide variety of programming has been supported through TRYPs throughout the years such as smoke-free dances, smoke-free themed art projects, and smoke-free school challenges. Each program is customized to meet the needs and interests of its planned participants and is evaluated based on clear commercial tobacco reduction outcomes suited to the activities,” Milani commented.
“The long term outcome for the program is to reduce the prevalence of youth and young adults who smoke and use other forms of commercial tobacco in Northwestern Ontario. However, each group will select objectives unique to their activities so that we are able to evaluate a variety of short-term outcomes that may include increased knowledge about tobacco or any change in the participants’ attitudes and behaviours regarding smoking or the use of other commercial tobacco products,” Milani concluded.
The TRYPs program is being promoted by the Northwestern Health Unit staff and through their website.