Ricky Rubio calls on young people to resist the temptation to start smoking

Ricky Rubio calls on young people to resist the temptation to start smoking

The Department of Health from Catalonia (Departament de Salut de la Generalitat) and The Ricky Rubio Foundation have launched an ambitious campaign against smoking aimed at young people starring Ricky Rubio. Eight out of ten people who currently smoke started smoking before the age of 20. Therefore, Ricky Rubio’s message is very clear: ‘AGUANTA’ (´RESIST´), aimed at the thousands of teenagers and young people who did not start smoking yet or are in time to quit smoking.

To reinforce the NBA´s player ´RESIST´ campaign message, he stars challenges such as riding a tricycle or shooting a mini movable basket. So far, four challenges can be seen on the www.aguanta.cat website plus tips on how to quit smoking. The campaign is already being spread through different media but it will focus on social media, which is the most common amongst young people. Posters will be sent, as well, to institutions and health centers all over Spain. 

During the campaign´s presentation, led by journalist Jordi Basté in the Lluïsos de Gràcia Pavillon, the Minister of Health, Alba Vergès highlighted that “The emphasis must be on combating the use of electronic cigarettes among young people”. 

The figures are ´worrying´ because one out of two children has tried an electronic cigarette, whereas in 2016 it was only one out of five. “We must take action to combat this negative trend and make clear it is not an effective way to quit smoking,” said the counselor, who has also warned of the potential health risks caused by these devices.

Smoking isn’t cool

Right from the beginning, Ricky Rubio expressed his interest in starring the anti-smoking campaign and has stressed the importance of raising awareness among the young people to fight the urge to smoke or to quit smoking. He has also called on them to realize fast that whoever smokes in class is not cool but, on the contrary, someone whose pro-smoking attitude should be disapproved.

“In the U.S., where I have been living for a few years now, the anti-smoking culture has grown to the point of being a disowned and rejected social habit”.

“Now I live in Phoenix, where it’s hot and those who want to smoke may find a place outdoors, but where I’ve been, Minnesota and Utah, with temperatures often below zero degrees, it’s harder, if not impossible, here you can’t smoke almost anywhere”.

The Counselor answering Jordi Basté‘s questions mentioned that the new law hardens the anti-smoking law prohibiting smoking on bus shelters, at building entrances and even in private vehicles. I know that some people will curse me, but we should not compromise when it comes to health issues.

Peer pressure exists

Players at Lluïsos de Gràcia (Catalan Basket Team) confessed that half of the students at school already smoke and that, indeed, peer pressure pushes them to smoke to be different and, as Ricky denounced, to be ‘cool’. That’s why Ricky Rubio insisted, from Phoenix via Skype, that young people have to ‘RESIST‘ the temptation to smoke.

In Catalonia, the average age at which teenagers start smoking is between 14 and 15 years old, and almost 40% of children at school between 14 and 18 years old have ever smoked. Another important fact is that young people aged 15 to 25 smoke between 5 and 6 cigarettes a day and 67% have tried to quit smoking at least once.

 The World Health Organization (WHO) recalls that smoking among young people has important short-term consequences, such as respiratory and non-respiratory effects, nicotine addiction and increased risk of using other drugs such as alcohol, marihuana or cocaine. In the long term, however, the impact is also negative: studies show that the first signs of heart disease and stroke can be found in teenagers who smoke. Also, smoking at an early age increases the risk of lung cancer. It is estimated that those who start smoking at age of 15 are three times more likely to die of cancer than those who start smoking at the age of 25, and that, among youngsters who continue to smoke, a third will die prematurely from tobacco.

This campaign is a reaction from the Department of Health due to the latest increase in tobacco consumption detected. For the first time in seven years of continuous decline, the results from the 2018 Health Survey of Catalonia (Encuesta de Salut de Catalunya – ESCA) show an increase in tobacco consumption, which has increased from 24% to 25,6%. To reduce the impact of tobacco consumption, the Department of Health reinforces laws against tobacco such as banning smoking in open-air playgrounds, bus shelters, and private vehicles. It is estimated that in Catalonia, each year there are about 10.000 deaths are smoking-related.