Cwm Taf University Health Board is delighted that two local schools, have participated in an initiative to help to stop smoking on all health board sites, which include hospitals, clinics, health centres and GP practices.

Cyfarthfa High School, Merthyr Tydfil and Ysgol Gyfun Garth Olwg, Church Village, Pontypridd have produced no smoking posters which will be displayed on all premises and also on Cwm Taf TV public screens.

Dr Chris Jones, chairman of the health board said: “We are disappointed that people continue to smoke despite our policy being in place since 2012.

“It is hoped that the relationship we have built with these two schools will provide some support to developing that message further.”

The health board implemented a smoke-free environment policy in June 2012 to protect all employees, patients, relatives and visitors from exposure to second hand smoke.

Smoking continues to be the largest single cause of avoidable ill health and early death in Wales. Exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

The Year 7 pupils were tasked with producing posters depicting their views on the drawbacks of smoking and the benefits of quitting.

Both schools and pupils fully engaged with the health board to produce innovative and original posters. All the entries were of a very high quality which made judging even harder.

Heather Parnell, the health board’s artist-in-residence said: “It was lovely to meet some of the participants, and great that the competition motivated them to research the dangers of smoking in much more depth.”

Cyfarthfa High School winners were Kacy Fowler, Renee Owen-Lundie, Niamh Broad and Carys Nicholls.  Runners up were Holly Mack and Caitlin McCarthy, and Iestyn Hands and James Nicholas.

Zoe Gable won the Ysgol Gyfun Garth Olwg competition and runners up were Georgia Maisey and Carys Murphy.

Comments from the pupils included: ‘We came up with this idea from our own opinions on smoking”, “We used lots of bright colours to catch the viewer’s eye”, and “The posters show how bad it is to smoke and what happens to you if you do.”

Mrs Claire Fry, Head of Art & Design at Cyfarthfa High School said: “Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in a project that will hopefully make a difference to the health and well-being of patients and visitors to our local hospitals.

“The pupils were excited to produce their artwork, and I was amazed by their strong views and opinions on the topic of ‘Anti-smoking’.

“Pupils researched ideas and carefully chose materials and colours that would produce the eye-catching effect they wanted.

“The slogans on the posters are the pupils own and I hope give out a very clear message to whoever looks at them.”

Cwm Taf University Health Board is very supportive of their staff, patients and visitors who want to quit smoking and have nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) services available to support them to quit.

If you want to make a New Year’s resolution and improve your health, contact Stop Smoking Wales http://www.stopsmokingwales.com/