D-MYST down under

Belvedere school pupil, Katie Lou-Holland, a member of the Liverpool-based creative agency, D-MYST, has been invited by Massey University in New Zealand to help launch their SmokeFree movement ‘it’s my life’.

D-MYST is a creative agency made up of young people who feel strongly about the way big tobacco companies target young people.

The group work together to design marketing campaigns that aim to de-normalise smoking; targeting television programmes such as Coronation Street and Eastenders who portray characters smoking despite the high number of young people who tune in.

Katie, 15, will be travelling to New Zealand, as a guest speaker at Massey University’s smoke free summits. She will be joined by Helen Casstles, SmokeFree Liverpool co-ordinator at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.

Associate professor Elspeth Tilley from Massey University said: “We’ve invited Katie to be part of the summits because of the huge success that D-MYST has had over the last few years.”

Katie, whose activism has been motivated by her own mother’s smoking-related health problems, says young people usually start smoking because of external influences such as their families, peers and what they see in the media.

“The media and celebrities can be hugely influential,” Katie says. “On the television you always see people smoking – I think it is being introduced into plotlines more and more and it’s also been glamorised by celebrities.”

I am looking forward to taking D-MYST overseas and sharing the successful methods we have used to stop young people from taking up smoking.”

Helen Castles, who will be joining Katie, said “It is exciting to see that the work D-MYST has undertaken is being recognised internationally and that we are now a bench mark for other SmokeFree organisations.”

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