Patrons heading into the Amherst Centre Mall for the rest of the week may come across a nine-feet-tall dinosaur covered in ashtrays at one of the entrances. The Department of Health and Wellness is taking the dinosaurs, which also include one at the Amherst Stadium and River Hebert District High School for the rest of the week, and some artifacts across the province to try and curb smoking habits for those between 15 and 19. Raissa Tetanish - Amherst Daily News
AMHERST - Hardly anyone smokes anymore.
That's the message the Department of Health and Wellness is trying to convey in Cumberland County this week with dinosaurs standing nine-feet-tall and covered in ashtrays.
Steve Machat, manager of tobacco control for the department, said the Dinosaurs on the Move campaign started about three years ago.
"We started talking to a number of health stakeholders about how we could continue to make tobacco reductions," said Machat.
"We knew from the evidence that it needed to be prevented right from the beginning."
The dinosaurs, which are standing tall outside the Amherst Centre Mall and the Amherst Stadium, were conceived from something that many teens throughout the province had been telling the department during its research - "that smoking was prehistoric, uncool, or part of the ancient past," said Machat.
The dinosaur, he added, was the prime candidate to represent those words in reality.
Machat said research shows that as of the Grade 10 age, there is a 10 per cent prevalence of smokers in the schools. By the Grade 12 age, however, that increases to 25 per cent.
Along with the stadium and mall in Amherst, a dinosaur was scheduled to be at the River Hebert District High School this week.
The campaign is also featuring television and cinema spots, as well as a website - 15andfalling.ca.