Young people in South Yorkshire get creative in a bid to make smoking history for future generations

Published Friday, 29th January 2016
Cigarette in ash tray
Cigarette in ash tray

Young people from across South Yorkshire have come together to form a campaigning group, which will be known as Youthlight.

As part of its first project, Youthlight is challenging young people to create a short video themed around the dangers of smoking.

The competition is open to all young people (aged between 13-20) in Doncaster, Sheffield, and Rotherham. Entries will be judged by a panel, which includes Producer Colin Pons, Course Leader in MA film-making at Sheffield Hallam University. Shares and likes on social media will also be taken into consideration. The creator of the best online video will win a Go Pro camera and a chance to attend a lecture at Sheffield Hallam University as an introduction to film-making.

Entrants are being urged to show their creativity by producing a 15-second clip, which will either encourage smokers to quit or prevent young people from taking up the habit. The short videos, which can feature either actors or animation, should be uploaded to the Youthlight website by midnight on 31 March.

Colin Pons, Course Leader in Film-making at Sheffield Hallam University and producer of films like HUSH and Still Loved, is looking forward to seeing the entries. He said: “Young people are among the best story tellers, particularly when it comes to creating online video content. I am really looking forward seeing the entries.

“People are being asked to tackle a tough subject so it’s going to be a real challenge to create a compelling video that gets the message across. As part of the judging process, I will be looking for creativity, content and quality of delivery. The winning video will also need to be engaging enough for people to want to share on social media.”

Alex Sisman, head boy at Newlands Academy in Sheffield and a member of Youthlight, is urging as many young people as possible to take up the challenge. He said: “The short video competition is a great initiative to help launch Youthlight and I hope it will attract more members to join our group.

“As this is our first project together, we are really pleased to have the support of Colin Pons and Sheffield Hallam University.”

Youthlight is supported by South Yorkshire Tobacco Control Collaborative, a combined initiative between Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster councils, to help reduce the number of smokers in the region.

Councillor David Roche, Rotherham’s Advisory Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “Every year, around 200,000 children in England start smoking regularly. More than 65 percent of them start before the age of 18 and more than 80 percent by the age of 19.

“Preventing young people from taking up smoking in the first place is key to making smoking history for future generations.

“In Rotherham, 10 percent of 15 year olds smoke. In Doncaster, the figure is nine percent and in Sheffield it is eight percent. Engaging young people to take action and speak out about the dangers of tobacco can only help discourage more young people from taking up the habit.”

To find out more about Youthlight and the short video competition, visit

Visit the Youthlight websiteimage