STUDENTS of Cleveland College of Art & Design (CCAD) have been using their creativity to design posters that encourage fellow students not to smoke.

Middlesbrough Council’s Smoke-free Alliance challenged the students to create the posters as part of its campaign to reduce the prevalence of smoking in Middlesbrough and to discourage young people from taking up the habit.

CCAD graphic design lecturer Paul Clay said: “It’s important that we give our students the opportunity to experience real world design – working to tight deadlines and under certain restrictions – this is what sets our students apart.

“The students produced some excellent commercial work during this live brief and the fact that they have only been studying graphic design at this level for three months is further confirmation of the progress they make on our course.

“We also encourage our students to engage in health improvement initiatives as a way to help them better understand their own health needs and those of their peers.

“The poster designs really highlighted their interest in this important health topic as well as showcasing their creative abilities.”

Prior to the competition, the college ran a survey which showed there was a need to promote sources of health information and the services that were available to help smokers to quit.

Poster competition entries were whittled down with help from several Middlesbrough-wide young persons’ focus groups and the top six posters were put to the vote by students at CCAD.

The winning entry was designed by Eve Jones, 16, from Ingleby Barwick.

Her design was the top choice by people on the CCAD Instagram and by the Middlesbrough Smokefree Alliance. Eve was delighted to win the first prize of a £50 Amazon gift card.

Eve said: “I researched the health effects of smoking as part of the live brief and my design featured the shocking statistic that 50% of teenage smokers will continue to smoke and die young from smoking-related diseases.

“I chose a pink background for the poster to attract readers and it helped the message stand out.

“I am really pleased to have won and the prize is fantastic. I am really enjoying the course and this was a nice surprise for the New Year.”

Competition runners-up were Lisa Orton, Brandon Staniford and Jade Baadsgaard who each received £30 Amazon gift cards.

Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Health and Social Care, said: “Attitudes towards smoking, especially in public, have changed dramatically over the past decade and we are seeing a year on year fall in smoking rates in Middlesbrough and across the North East.

“However, smoking and smoking-related diseases remain a serious public health concern with around 295 smoking-related deaths in Middlesbrough every year and smoking-attributable hospital admissions costing the NHS in Middlesbrough around £6.5 million a year.

“This is why it is important that we continue to provide services that support smokers to quit and encourage people, especially young people, not to take up smoking.

“With support from Cleveland College of Art and Design and engaging with young people to design and spread messages that smoking still kills, we hope to continue to see more smokers quitting on their own or with help from our stop smoking services and ultimately we can make Middlesbrough a smoke-free town.”

For support to quit contact the Specialist Stop Smoking Service on 01642 383819 or visit www.nth.nhs.uk/stopsmoking