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Health promotion

Health promotion and cancer prevention are the main goals of the Cancer Society of Finland. Through its work, the organisation strives to reduce the risk of contracting cancer and the harms caused by cancer.

The Cancer Society works to promote health in many fields. It seeks to influence social policy, general attitudes, social and healthcare practices, and individual choices. The Cancer Society provides expert knowledge on cancer prevention and health promotion. Health promotion campaigns are directed at a wide range of target groups.

One of the Cancer Society’s most important health promotion goals is to bring an end to the use of tobacco products and to prevent people from taking up the habit. Young people are a special target group in this work. Apart from the harmful effects of smoking, attention is paid to the risks caused by snus, e-cigarettes and passive smoking.

In recent years, the Cancer Society has also highlighted the importance of nutrition, exercise and weight management in cancer prevention. In addition, the organisation works to reduce the incidence of skin cancer and cervical cancer through its health promotion efforts. The organisation also strives to make people more aware of the carcinogenic properties of alcohol.

The Cancer Society cooperates with other organisations and authorities to promote health. The organisation also carries out international cooperation in health promotion work.

The European Code Against Cancer

Promoting the health of young people

Young people are one of the main target audiences for the Cancer Society of Finland’s health promotion work. Lifestyle has a significant impact on cancer risk. The lifestyles we adopt in adolescence and sustained throughout life play a major role in health and well-being.

Youth health promotion is conducted widely through a variety of means for different target groups:

Young people

The Fressis service (in Finnish) provides young people with a wide range of information and encourages a nicotine-free life and healthy lifestyle. Fressis covers all the main issues to do with health promotion and cancer prevention: tobacco and nicotine products, nutrition, alcohol, sexual health, sun protection, exercise, daily routine, and mental wellbeing. Fressis includes the website and social media channels (Instagram, YouTube).

The content of the Fressis website and social media as well as campaigns bolster young people’s knowledge and skills. They can also receive individual guidance on health-related matters from the Ask an Expert service (in Finnish). The Tobacco body website details the harm that cigarettes and snuff do to the body and the benefits of not using or quitting them. The Tobacco body site is available on seven languages online and via mobile.

Erovirasto (Quitting agency) is a free app for helping young people who smoke or use snuff to quit. The app allows the young user to make a 30-day quitting experiment and to get advice and support along the way.

Adults working with young people

The FressisEdu website provides a range of materials and tools to promote youth wellbeing and being nicotine-free. The site’s content supports health education and, more broadly, the development of the overall educational environment, youth work and sports club activities.

Nicotine-free promotion in vocational colleges

Educational institutions and adults working at them have significant scope to influence the health behaviour of young people. Using the Nikotiiniton amis (nicotine-free vocational college) model, vocational colleges can help nurture a culture and environment that promotes nicotine-free behaviour. The model was developed based on the Namis project, which was run at Savo Vocational College in Kuopio from 2018–2020 in liaison with the Cancer Society of North Savo and the City of Kuopio’s substance abuse prevention work.

Promoting snuff-free sport

Sports clubs are important growth environments for young people in becoming independent. It is important that such clubs provide their athletes with health-promoting settings. Coaches and club officials have a prominent role in maintaining a healthy environment. The aim of the snuff-free sport model is to raise awareness among sports clubs and sports operators about the harm caused by snuff and the issues associated with snuff use. It includes tools for club officials and coaches to promote snuff-free sport in their day-to-day work. Cancer Society staff spread details of the model to sports clubs in their regions.

Nicotine-free youth work training

Nicotine-free youth work training provides youth workers with up-to-date information on tobacco and nicotine products, as well as tools to support young people’s nicotine-free behaviour in their own environments. The training consists of lectures and workshops. The lecture part covers topics such as the use of tobacco and nicotine products by young people as a phenomenon, the harm associated with these products and motivational interaction. In the workshop part, small groups discuss concrete actions appropriate to the youth work environment to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco and nicotine products and to support quitting.

The Cancer Society also uses social media for messaging on this topic – on Facebook @Syöpäjärjestöt – nuorten terveyden edistäminen and Twitter @SJnuorenterveys.

The Cancer Society produces a range of materials specifically on the use of tobacco and nicotine products by young people and related issues. These materials, including brochures, posters and publications, are available free of charge on our website.

Hyvä Päivä (Good Day)

Hyvä päivä activities increase knowledge and skills for healthy lifestyles among young people (under 29 years) outside work and study, thus reducing their risk of being diagnosed with major common diseases, such as cancer. The Hyvä päivä group is grounded in young people’s own strengths and interest in changing their lifestyle. The meetings emphasise the importance of healthy nutrition, exercise, daily rhythm and mental wellbeing. The participants also prepare a healthy meal and exercise together. The group materials are available on the Hyvä päivä website for instructors. Between meetings, young people do small, health-promoting experiments in their daily lives. Most often the Good Day group activities are carried out as part of the municipal youth services and the Ohjaamo (One-Stop Guidance Centre) activities.

Many times a year, the Cancer Society of Finland organises Good Day instructor training for professionals working with young people. This training reinforces knowledge of healthy living and lifestyle changes among professionals working with young people. During 2019, Good Day activities are expanded and rooted nationwide. The Good Day project is funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health from an appropriation granted by Veikkaus, and through the business partnership between LocalTapiola and the Cancer Foundation.

Good Day activities can also be taken to different settings, such as vocational schools for students at risk of dropping out. Good Day group activities can also be held remotely.

Hyvä päivä website (in Finnish)

The Cancer Society maintains a number of health promotion websites aimed at different target groups:

Free from Cancer — A website for those interested in cancer prevention and healthy lifestyles.

Fressis — A website for young people that encourages healthy lifestyles. (in Finnish)

Erovirasto – a free mobile app to help young smokers or snuff users to quit the habit.

Tobacco Body — a website that shows how smoking and snuff use affect the body. The site is available in Finnish, Swedish, English, Russian, Estonian, Danish and Dutch.

FressisEdu – A wide range of materials and tools to promote nicotine-free lifestyles and wellbeing among young people.

Nikotiiniton amis model – to help vocational education and training institutions to develop their culture and environment to promote nicotine-free behaviour. – contains tools for club officials and coaches to promote snuff-free behaviour in everyday club activity.

Nicotine-free youth work training provides youth workers with up-to-date information on tobacco and nicotine products and tools to help them support young people to become nicotine-free in their own environments.

Good Day instructor website – for professionals working with young people, containing information on the Good Day model and materials for organising group activities.