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Bid to kick smoking in to touch

12 Tachwedd 2008

School of Medicine student and Welsh rugby international Jamie Roberts has teamed up with ASH Wales to raise vital funds through auction for the anti-tobacco programme, Ffaith.

The youth-led smoking prevention programme is being managed by ASH Wales, the leading voluntary organisation in Wales tackling tobacco, currently chaired by Provost Professor Stephen Tomlinson.

A signed match ball from last year’s South Africa International donated by Jamie has been put up for the auction. Also signed by Jamie and fellow rugby stars including Ryan Jones, James Hook, Shane Williams and others from the squad that won the Grand Slam in 2008, this piece of Welsh sporting memorabilia will go to the highest bidder as part of the Wales-wide smoking cessation initiative.

"It is great working with young people who are so passionate about stopping other young people smoking," said Jamie. "6000 people die a year from smoking in Wales and around two thirds of them start smoking as a child. Youth run projects can make a difference to people’s lives in Wales and I hope my small gesture will help towards that cause."

Earlier this year, researchers at the University’s Cardiff Institute of Society Health and Ethics (CISHE) and colleagues at Bristol University studied the effectiveness of ‘A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial’ (ASSIST) in 59 schools across western England and Wales, involving 11,000 students aged 12-13 years. Published in The Lancet, the research found that smoking rates among teenagers can be reduced by training popular secondary school pupils to promote anti-smoking messages in conversations with friends.