National youth basketball programme makes tobacco-free pledge Reply

Shell Twilight Basketball were the first sports organisation to endorse Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-Free Generation. Sarah Furniss, Youth Development Coordinator at Shell Twilight Basketball talks to us about what they are doing to help the next generation grow-up free from tobacco.

Tell us a bit about what Shell Twilight Basketball does…

Shell Twilight Basketball is a national programme which provides basketball sessions infused with education and life-skills. We offer free evening basketball sessions which naturally reinforce practical skills, goal setting and teamwork. We also deliver ‘Educational Time-outs’ and conflict resolution workshops to develop life skills.

Can you tell us a bit more about the ‘Education Time-outs’?

We invite local experts and professional role models to input messages through the ‘Educational Timeout’ programme. They look at issues such as tackling territorialism, racism, healthy lifestyles, employment and further education opportunities. Shell Twilight Basketball has worked with ASH Scotland to develop and deliver tobacco awareness Educational Timeouts which are now delivered to participants as part of the programme.

In 2014, Shell Twilight Basketball developed a smoke-free policy. Why is it important to Shell Twilight Basketball to have clear smoke-free policy?

We know that tobacco use can’t be reconciled with good health and no level of exposure to second-hand smoke is safe. We want children, families and communities to enjoy healthy, smoke-free environments and so this policy has been developed to protect the health and well-being of all our participants, visitors, employees and volunteers. To create a smoke-free environment, particularly for young people we will seek to ensure that:

  • the culture and environment of our events is safe and promotes healthy lifestyle behaviours;
  • we provide a supportive environment for smokers to quit and non-smokers to stay free from tobacco; and
  • we provide reliable information on tobacco and related topics such as second-hand smoke and health advice

As part of policy Shell Twilight Basketball piloted their first tobacco-free national basketball tournament, how did that go?

It was a real success! The event was marketed and promoted as being smoke-free and smoking was not permitted in any indoor or outdoor areas of the venue. There was signposting to local stop smoking services and NHS smoking cessation workers were present on the day to help highlight the harm caused by tobacco use to participants, their parents and spectators.  Following this successful pilot we plan to roll-out the smoke-free events policy and make all our future tournaments smoke-free.

Shell Twilight Basketball is the first sports organisation to endorse Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation, congratulations! Having now decided to publicly back the Charter, what are your plans over the next six months?

As part of our commitment to Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation we will continue to update our existing policy and practice and have made a pledge to make all our future tournaments smoke-free.

We are also going to review and adapt our  current Education Timeout on tobacco to include information about different aspects of tobacco and we’re are going to gather information on local stop-smoking services so we can signpost to support during and after our tobacco Educational Timeouts.

More about the Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation….

The Charter has six key principles to help encourage discussion around how organisations can get behind the target of a tobacco-free generation by 2034. We know that organisations will have varying resources and capacity to contribute to action; that’s why the Charter is designed to be flexible and responsive and builds on activities organisations are doing already. Shell Twilight Basketball expertly focusses on Principle 4: Every child has the right to effective education that equips them to make informed choices on tobacco and health.

Recognising that everybody can be advocates for tobacco-free generation; Shell Twilight Basketball coaches are in an ideal position to act as role models and speak with young people about the harms caused by tobacco. By co-ordinating their efforts with schools and local NHS services they are promoting a healthy approach to tobacco issues. Equipped with this information children can be confident advocates of tobacco—free choices.

In the run-up to May’s elections for the Scottish Parliament, ASH Scotland has produced a manifesto of issues it would like the incoming Government to address, we’re asking them to help the next generation grow up free from tobacco by committing to abide by the principles of the Charter.

Connie Bennett, Development Officer

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