Youth Health Action Network Resources
Here are a few resources that YHAN members created to raise awareness about the harms of hookah smoking and to encourage other young people to get involved in addressing the issue.
Clearing the Smoke – The Truth About Smoking Hookah
Free double-sided 16.5 cm x 11.5 cm (6.5 inch x 4.5 inch) print resource card for youth on the health effects of smoking hookah/shisha.
To order, call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.
YHAN Hookah Take Action Toolkit
Most recently, the YHAN has been interested in the topic of hookah smoking. It has become an increasingly popular trend among young people, yet many are misinformed about its safety. To address this issue, we created a number of educational resources for our peers, and advocated for legislation changes to protect the public from second hand smoke exposure.
This toolkit is a compilation of the educational resources we created, as well as the strategies we used to influence local bylaws. It is intended to help other individuals, groups, and organizations who are interested in taking action on hookah smoking through similar activities.
The hookah infographic postcard contains eye-catching visuals and clear, concise information on the harmful effects of hookah smoking. Infographics are a wonderful way to convey information in a succinct, direct manner and due to its size and portability, it can easily be shared with the general public. To order print copies of the postcard, call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.
True and False Quiz
A True/False quiz is an effective and engaging way to address common misconceptions that people may have regarding hookah use and its harmful effects. It is an excellent resource to use at community events since it engages the public and serves as an interactive learning tool. To encourage participation, prizes could be made available.
Street Buzz Video
The Street Buzz video is a short montage of interviews with young people in downtown Toronto to explore their knowledge and opinions on hookah smoking. The video highlights a general lack of awareness about the harms of hookah smoking and can be used to show the need for more public education and policies to protect the public from second-hand hookah smoke exposure.
The “Be Informed” Public Service Announcement (PSA) is a short video recreating the setting of a hookah lounge, to inform youth about the harms of hookah smoking and dealing with pressure from peers to engage in the practice.
Influencing Policy through Deputations
We completed several activities with the goal of helping young people make informed decisions about hookah smoking, but we recognized that more could be done to limit a person’s exposure to second-hand hookah smoke in public spaces. To support this, we decided to make a deputation to the Toronto Board of Health. A deputation is a short presentation to a group of decision makers, communicating one’s position and recommendations on a particular topic, and they can lead to bylaw changes and even bylaws being created.
The first step in our deputation process was recognizing that we could provide a unique perspective on the issue as young people interested in health, and that was therefore the position we should be speaking from.
From there we engaged in research to better understand the context of the issue (i.e., rates of use among young people, cultural influences, harms associated with the practice and lack of awareness about the harms, what other communities had done to address the issue, etc.). We reviewed different resources like articles by topic experts and the official Board of Health report on hookah smoking.
We then used the information we gathered to define the issue from our perspective, why we cared about it, and what actions we believed the Board of Health should take to address it. This was compiled into a presentation that would engage the board members, highlighting relevant facts, results of our informal research, and through discussing our own experiences with the issue. Check out the YouTube clip of a deputation members of YHAN made in June 2015.