Young people in Limerick receive World Health Organisation Award for no smoking campaign

  • Limerick Comhairle na nOg receives WHO award.
  • Limerick Comhairle na nOg receives WHO award.
Aoife, Zara, Dylan & Tyrone, Limerick Comhairle na nÓg. (Morning Star Photography)

Limerick Comhairle na nÓg has been awarded the prestigious World No Tobacco Day Award by the World Health Organization (WHO) for their leading role in the development of Not Around Us campaign. The announced co0incides with World No Tobacco Day which takes place next Sunday 31 May.

The Not Around Us campaign aims to discourage people from smoking or vaping around children and young people.

The theme of World No Tobacco Day this year is 'Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use'. The award presented to Limerick Comhairle na nÓg is in recognition of their efforts to achieve this.

Launched to coincide with World No Tobacco Day last year, Not Around Us, developed by Limerick City and County Council and Healthy Limerick, has promoted an environment where it is easier for those who smoke to quit and remain smoke free and helps to de-normalise smoking for the next generation through shaping policy development, signalling out appropriate areas for no-smoking signage, engaging on the effects of second hand smoking and raising awareness of the supports for those who wish to quit smoking.

The Not Around Us signage can be seen in areas where young people play and learn such as parks, playgrounds and schools.

Congratulating the Comhairle on their award Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Sheahan said: “Limerick Comhairle na nÓg has played a key role in Healthy Limerick’s #NotAroundUs campaign and on behalf of the people of Limerick I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to them. The young people have shown great determination and leadership in developing and guiding #NotAroundUs and deserve a lot of credit for their energy and creativity when working with the different community and statutory partners across Limerick. Their hard work and dedication to the project has now been recognised by no other than the World Health Organization. You can’t get higher praise than that. Well done all”.

Speaking about the award, Simon Harris, Minister for Health said: “It is very encouraging to see our young people playing such an active role in the development of the Not Around Us campaign, which promotes smoke-free zones in public areas for the benefit of all and brings us closer to our goal of a Tobacco Free Ireland and a Healthy Ireland. For a local youth led initiative to receive the highest international recognition is an extraordinary achievement. Congratulations to the agencies and partners that participated and especially to the young people involved.”

Martina Blake, National Lead, HSE, Health & Wellbeing, Tobacco Free Ireland Programme said: “This is a fantastic achievement by Limerick Comhairle na nÓg. I am so thrilled that they are being recognised on a world stage. This is an important first step in sending a positive message that common public and community spaces should be healthy and smoke free environments for all to enjoy. This award recognises the power of the youth voice and the power of partnership working in reinforcing that message. I would like to thank and congratulate all the organisations in Limerick who played their part.”

The Not Around Us programme which was funded by the HSE and Healthy Ireland, developed by Limerick City and County Council and Healthy Limerick and was launched in 2019, the purpose of the campaign is to:

  • Help protect children and young people from second hand smoke exposure
  • Contribute to the denormalisation of smoking for children and young people
  • Reduce environmental nuisance, cost of cleaning and damage that discarded tobacco products create
  • Raise awareness of and direct people to HSE Quit smoking cessation services.

John Real, Coordinator, Limerick Comhairle na nÓg, said: “Limerick Comhairle na nÓg are honoured to receive this recognition from the World Health Organisation, for their leading role in the #NotAroundUs campaign. From initial meetings and research to the shaping of future policy, the voice of the young people was listened to and valued by all the partners. This was crucial to the project as it will be the young people and their peers who will lead this drive for a Tobacco Free Generation. It was a privilege working with Healthy Limerick and we would like to thank all at Limerick City & County Council, the HSE, Dept. Health and Limerick Youth Service for their support.”

The HSE QUIT service provides personalised, free, proven support by phone, email, SMS and live chat. For those that are considering quitting free call 1800 201 203 to talk to the QUIT Team or visit for stop smoking tips and resources, order a free Quit Kit, and create a personalised quit plan. Quitters can also get peer-to-peer support at the HSE QUIT Facebook page and follow us on Twitter at HSE QUIT @HSEQuitTeam.

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