YOUNGSTERS who run a group to educate their peers about the dangers of smoking have scooped an award which will help take them to the other side of the world.

The teenagers are backing our Clear the Air campaign to highlight the risks of smoking and encourage people to kick the habit.

Along with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lanarkshire Health Boards, and groups such as W-WEST, we are determined to improve the lives of people.

W-WEST– which stands for Why Waste Everything Smoking Tobacco? – aims to offer young people the facts so they can make their own choice about smoking.

It was set up by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde as the first of its kind in Scotland, and is run by six young members.

The group has been handed the Crofton Award by the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS) in partnership with anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland.

It aims to recognise the contribution made by young people towards reducing the harm caused by smoking, and is open to both smokers and non-smokers.

Group member Michael Caine, 19, from Cessnock, an apprentice mechanic, said: "It's fantastic, especially considering it's the second time we've won.

"The aim is to get information out there to the youth about the dangers of smoking. It's pro-choice – we're not going to grab you by the throat and say stop smoking."

Now, with the help of the £1000 prize money, W-WEST are taking their work to South America. They'll head to Uruguay as part of a partnership with Durham University, to develop a Scottish version of an exhibition called Uruguay Breathes, which compares the life paths of a smoker and a non-smoker.

They hope to display their version at Glasgow Science Centre and will work with groups in Uruguay to help them set up their own youth advocacy groups on smoking.

Michael said: "Apparently it's fantastic. It's a walk-through exhibition and you can either go the side where the person has smoked or the side where they haven't."

It is the second time the group has won the award in the past three years.

W-WEST members worked with the NHS to host an education event for kids in February and have put together their own information to help spread the message.

The Crofton Award is named after Sir John and Lady Eileen Crofton, who dedicated their lives to raising awareness of the harm caused by tobacco, and helped found ASH Scotland.

Sir John's work also led to vaccination for TB. He died in 2009, but his wife still campaigns.

The Award judges said: "W-WEST members should be immensely proud of the continual development of their work ... W-WEST have gained a tremendous level of recognition at both a national and international level.

"Visiting Uruguay will provide W-West with an array of fantastic opportunities that will enable them to becoming recognised as a leading group in the fields of youth advocacy, peer education and tobacco awareness."

OUR Clear the Air campaign, run in conjunction with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lanarkshire aims to highlight the risks of Scotland's biggest killer and help you quit smoking for good.

A total of 36 Scots smokers die every day from illnesses such as lung cancer, mouth cancer, strokes and heart disease.

Then there's the harm caused to others by secondhand smoke, not the mention the spiralling cost.

For help to stop smoking visit or call Smokeline on 0800 848484.

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