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A teacher whose students took part in a film-making campaign to highlight the dangers of smoking has spoken of the benefits it brought to her pupils.

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For the past two years, students at Islington Arts and Media School (IAMS) in Turle Road, Finsbury Park, have taken part in the short-film and social media project Cut Films. It is run by the anti-smoking charity set up in the name of journalist Deborah Hutton, who died from lung cancer having smoked briefly as a teenager 25 years before.

The Gazette – as well as its parent company Archant’s other London newspapers – launched a campaign in January to support the charity’s work by encouraging creative young people to make films warning their peers about the dangers of smoking.

Jessica Keane, head of media at IAMS, said she was impressed with the impact that taking part in the project had had on her students and other young people.

The school’s media btec pupils took part in the competition, entering four films that they had made.

She said: “They looked at examples of other smoking campaigns, talked about Deborah Hutton and really thought about what they could do to try and stop teenagers smoking now or later on in their lives.

“They came up with the ideas and researched everything. They even did questionnaires to find out more attitudes towards smoking. It had a real benefit.”

Ms Keane continued: “They responded to it really well, not only in respect of learning how to make films but in terms of the issue itself.

“We did have a few people who we interviewed telling us they would really think about quitting and some students were quite repelled when they saw the videos showing cancer eating away at the mouth and lungs. I was definitely impressed with the impact it had.”

The films ranged from a giant cigarette chasing teenagers around to one focusing on on the peer pressure among young people to smoke.

In Islington, 5.9 per cent of girls aged 11 to 15 smoke, as do 4 per cent of boys, figures from NHS North Central London reveal. A total of 25 per cent of adults smoke in the borough overall, the second-highest rate among adults in London.

The Deborah Hutton Campaign is urging schools around the borough to take part in the annual competition. A spokesman for the charity said: “It is a chance for young people to engage, create and produce their discoveries about the truth of smoking.

“So, rather than being passive viewers, young people working collaboratively can use this opportunity to actively raise aspirations and convince their peers to reconsider their behaviour and attitudes towards smoking.”

n To take part, ensure you register to enter the competition before April 20. More details can be found at www.cutfilms.org

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