The key phase of the “Do not burn yourself at the start” campaign launched by Aflofarm Foundation under the patronage of the Minister of National Education has just come to an end. The organizers of the campaign sent an outline of didactic classes to all primary and junior high schools across Poland. The results of the educational film competition launched for students are already known. The anti-smoking message reached millions of Poles.

A new look at the problem of smoking

The “Do not burn yourself at the start” campaign was launched at the beginning of the year. The spot promoting the campaign was broadcast on all television stations in Poland by the turn of January and February. According to an analysis by AGB Nielsen, the campaign reached over 27 million Poles.

This is an excellent result for the first phase of an initiative that raises the problem of smoking from a different, new perspective. Aflofarm Foundation has focused on education and smoking prevention among young people. It placed emphasis on a particularly vulnerable group of young people between the age of 12 and 16, as they are often not aware of the dangers of smoking. They consider themselves indestructible or immortal, and thus try smoking while convinced that they will be able to part with cigarettes in a few years. The problem is that cigarettes are much more harmful for young people than for older smokers, and statistics show that people who start smoking at a young age more often turn into the so-called hard-smokers (i.e. they smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day). It is also much harder for them to quit their addiction in the future. What is worse, according to the WHO report, nearly half of Polish teenagers have already smoked their first cigarette.

Smoking constitutes a very popular topic of social campaigns. Much has been done in this direction in recent years, and the percentage of smokers is decreasing on a year-on-year basis. However, if you take a closer look at these statistics, it turns out that this anti-cigarette social movement mainly affects adults. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of preventive actions directed at children and youths -- asserts Tomasz Furman, President at Aflofarm Foundation.

Schools get involved as well

However, the core of the “Do not burn yourself at the start” campaign was not a TV spot, but an educational film created jointly with Discovery TV and made available on the Internet. It indicates the problems that smokers have to face, such as poor physical condition and general loss of health, visible skin changes, financial difficulties or negative impact on the environment. Ambassadors of the campaign, including Izabella Krzan - Miss Polonia and host of “Wheel of Fortune” program, and bloggers and TV presenters - ADiHD Sisters, as well as the juror of You Can Dance - Maciej “Gleba” Florek - agreed to take part in the film free of charge. So far, the spot has reached around 1.5 million users on Facebook alone.

As part of the campaign, Aflofarm Foundation also sent a plethora of educational materials to 22,000 primary and junior high schools throughout Poland. The packages included plans for classes on cigarettes to be implemented during general educational classes.