Kids use film to butt out smoking

Filmmaker Brendon Briggs works with Jigalong school kids.

Young people in four remote communities in Western Australia’s East Pilbara — where up to 80 percent of community members smoke — have joined forces with filmmakers on a campaign to urge people to give up the deadly habit.

The youngsters from Jigalong, Parnngurr, Punmu and Kunawarritji in WA are shedding light on the personal stories of local smokers to warn about the dangerous habit in a series of short films.

Fifteen-year-old Clintesha Samson, who was involved in the films and doesn’t smoke, said she would like to see people in her community stop for the sake of their health.

She said she thought film was a good way to get the message across.

The series of films are part of a ‘you CAN quit’ project that has documented the stories of community members who have kicked the habit and those who have been affected by smoking-related illnesses.

The project was organised by Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking team.

The young people involved were responsible for researching, shooting, editing and promoting the films.

Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service regional tobacco coordinator Danika Tager said smoking rates in the East Pilbara were high and more needed to be done to support communities to address tobacco addiction.

“Smoking rates in remote East Pilbara communities are as high as 80 percent and tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in this population,” Ms Tager said.

“Through this important film project we hope to encourage people in these communities to quit smoking, as well as air the many benefits of quitting and where they can find help and support.”

The films are being shown in communities and also aired on TV and social media.

The Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service is a community-controlled health organisation that provides primary health care, 24-hour emergency services and preventative health and education programs in the communities of Jigalong, Parnngurr, Punmu and Kunawarritji.

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