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The Cancer Society’s health promotion is a value-based, goal-oriented activity to promote public health and wellbeing and prevent cancer. We strive to influence social policy, general attitudes, social and healthcare practices, and individual choices. The key target groups are children, young people and adults.

The Cancer Society invested in the health promotion activities of the regional associations by hiring three health promotion specialists to Northern Finland, Northern Savo, North Karelia, Saimaa and Central Finland. Health promotion at regional associations was also supported through the CSF’s involvement in regional development projects.

The CSF actively participated in the nicotine-free Finland network (JäNiS) and the Tobacco-Free Finland 2030 Network. Cooperation continued with the Finnish Olympic Committee (previously Finnish Sports Confederation Valo) to reduce the use of snuff in sports. We also cooperated with, among others, the Finnish Heart Association, the Family Federation of Finland, the Finnish Diabetes Association, the Organisation for Respiratory Health in Finland, the Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Finnish Association for Mental Health, the Youth Mental Health Association (Yeesi) and the Martha Organisation.

Youth health promotion

Reinforcing healthy lifestyles among young people has been a key project for the Cancer Society of Finland ever since 2016. For more than 15 years, the focus of youth health promotion has been on a project that aims to prevent young people from starting smoking and using nicotine (NuoTup). The project is funded by the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (previously the Finnish Slot Machine Association). In 2018, the CSF also launched a Fressis project funded by the Funding Centre that aims to improve young people’s health knowledge by digital means.

Reducing young people’s use of nicotine products

Fressis. Fressis is a communications package that encourages and supports health lifestyles. It is aimed at young people and gives information and tips on how to live a nicotine-free life and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Fressis comprises a website (, supporting social media channels, and a magazine that comes out once a year.

In 2018, we produced a wide variety of new material for Fressis. A publishing company and ad agencies contributed to the content production. Young people themselves have also been increasingly involved in the content production and in evaluation and development, for example through youth juries and collaboration with popular influencers. Social media play an increasingly important role. For young people, Instagram is the main social media.

The Fressis magazine came out in autumn 2018 and was distributed to pupils at vocational schools and middle schools. The magazine had a circulation of 50 000. Based on the results of a survey, most of the young readers found the topics covered in the magazine to be interesting and useful. They gave the magazine a good overall rating of 7.7 out of 10.

The magazine included a column where readers could ask questions from an expert; a total of 51 questions about tobacco and nicotine products were answered. In December, Fressis tested an online chat on tobacco and snuff, where young people could chat anonymously about tobacco products. There were 62 chats in total. Fressis also organised two youth juries to gather input on how to support quitting. The input was to be used in further developing the activities.

Fressis organised an information campaign, Suojaa päätä (Protect your head), about the damage nicotine does. The campaign reached about 500 000 young people across all channels. Of these, some 30 000 clicked through to the Fressis website to read more.

Working in collaboration with educational institutions, the CSF organised a social media campaign in early 2018. It also produced an advent calendar encouraging people to stop using nicotine products and redistributed media literacy videos that had been produced in 2017. Together with Poikien puhelin, a youth advice hotline run by the Family Federation of Finland, we produced three snuff-themed videos for the hotline’s YouTube channel. We also collaborated with the social media influencer group Justimus.

The Fressis website had more than 198 000 visitors in 2018. In social media, particular emphasis was placed on Instagram, which is very popular among young people. The CSF account reached 1 000 followers and a 23% increase in the number of followers compared to the previous year. Fressis also launched a concept where young people were given an opportunity to produce social media content.

Tobacco Body. The concept of the Tobacco Body website was redesigned together with young people to better meet modern demands. The new site will open in February 2019. The site will contain information not only on cigarettes but also on snuff, and the imagery will utilise tools such as 3D models.

NikEdu. The NikEdu website, which was opened in 2017 and is targeted at adults working with children and young people, was supplemented with dedicated sections on nicotine-free educational institutions, youth work and vocational schools. The Cancer Society worked with the Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health, the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the Finnish National Agency for Education to produce guidelines for educational institutes on tackling the problem of nicotine product use. The NikEdu website was marketed to its target audiences at events, in networks and by using digital marketing. The website had some 6 200 users in 2018.

The Nikotiiniton amis (nicotine-free vocational school) project started in Kuopio, at Savo Vocational College. The aim of the project is to help vocational schools develop operating models and learning environments that support a nicotine-free approach, and strengthen staff capacity to support the students in becoming nicotine-free. The first year of the project included a comprehensive initial situation overview. The planning of concrete measures has started in collaboration with the target group, and activities in 2019 will focus on implementing the planned measures. The collaborators are Savo Vocational College, the Cancer Society of North Savo and the substance abuse prevention unit of the City of Kuopio.

Nicotine-free youth work. The training and development concept for nicotine-free youth work that was launched in 2017 was introduced in Kuopio and Joensuu in 2018. The concept aims to develop and support modes of action within youth work that would support young people in adopting nicotine-free lifestyles. The training in Kuopio had 20 participants and the training in Joensuu had 23 participants.

Cooperation continued with the Finnish Olympic Committee to reduce the use of snuff in sports.

Fressis – improving youth health literacy in topics other than nicotine

The Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations granted the Cancer Society funding for 2018–2020 to promote non-nicotine-related topics through Fressis. This includes the following topics: nutrition, physical activity, alcohol, sexual health, sun protection, circadian rhythm, and good mental health from a life management perspective. Fressis now extensively covers all cancer-critical lifestyles and offers young people a comprehensive information package about health promotion.

In 2018, we produced a great deal of material on different topics for Fressis and for social media.

The Arkirytmihäiriö campaign was aimed at offering young people information on daily rhythms and practical tips for managing their daily lives. The campaign reached 219 900 young people. The key outcome of the campaign was that it clearly increased the target group’s willingness to adjust their daily rhythms.

In early summer 2018, we conducted a sun safety campaign in collaboration with three popular social media influencers. The campaign reached 636 500 people. We also collaborated with electronic pop band LCMDF.

An extensive development project to promote young people’s participation started in 2018. In cooperation with educational institutes, the CSF produced an online test about HPV infection for the Fressis website as well as a social media campaign about alcohol. In addition, a collaboration around the topic of school meals was started with educational institutes. These activities benefited from the participation of 157 young people.

The Kesäkumi campaign. Kesäkumi (Summer rubber) is a campaign to improve awareness of STDs and protection against them and to increase condom use. The 2018 campaign was carried out in cooperation with the Family Federation of Finland, the Finnish Red Cross, the radio station YleX, and the Soldiers’ Home Association. The campaign is taken to music festivals and other summer events popular among young people; it is also promoted on social media. The CSF plays a key role in the campaign in highlighting HPV-related topics and increasing awareness of how to protect against the infection.

Naimamaisteri, the sexual health test included in the campaign, was revamped in 2018. In addition, the test was translated into three Sami languages spoken in Finland in collaboration with a campaign promoting the health of Sami-speaking young people. The online test was completed more than 10 000 times during the year.

The Good Day project

The Hyvä päivä (Good Day) project aims to increase the knowledge, skills and capabilities of young people aged 25 and under who are not employed or studying about healthy lifestyles in life management. In 2018, there were Good Day groups organised in Kajaani, Sotkamo, Joensuu, Kuopio, Rovaniemi, Vantaa, Kemijärvi, Polvijärvi and Kaavi. There were altogether 20 groups with a total of 100 young people outside the employment and labour markets.

Twenty-five new Good Day counsellors were trained during the year. Besides the training, the project activities focused on establishing the concept, presenting the project to professionals and producing information material. The project succeeded in incorporating the Good Day concept into the regular services of municipal youth services.

Within the project, work was also underway to prepare an evaluation study based on a lifestyle survey for young people and write a master’s thesis to be completed in 2019. The project was also promoted during regional events, for instance.

In 2018, the project was funded by the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations and the insurance company LocalTapiola.

Social advocacy and reports

Nicotine-free vocational schools. The Cancer Society commissioned a qualitative study from the company e2 Research about smoking prevention at vocational schools. The study examined current practices, guidelines and tools as well as current challenges and potential solutions. The study is set to be published in early 2019.

Snuff in sports. The CSF commissioned a study on the use of snuff within sports from Kuuskulman Tapaustoimisto. The results of the study will be published in January 2019.

E-cigarettes. Based on a report completed in 2017, the CSF produced an article for the Yhteiskuntapolitiikka journal about the control of e-cigarettes. The results of the article were disseminated to, among others, the working group for the development of tobacco and nicotine policy, which had been appointed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Issues related to the control of e-cigarettes were still monitored in late 2018.

General health promotion and cancer prevention policy. During the year in review, the CSF issued statements on the work of the working group for the development of tobacco and nicotine policy, discussed with authorities responsible for tobacco policy and control, and engaged in media debates on the subject.

General health promotion

UV protection

The main target group in 2018 was men aged 35–55. Melanoma is more common among men than among women. In 2018, the Cancer Society produced a video about sun safety (Lomakuvia) aimed at the main target group. The video had 135 000 views during the year.

In daycare centres across Finland, the CSF organised storytimes about the importance of sun protection and provided guidance for children on how to self-apply sunscreen. In addition, a brochure on sun safety was sent to parents.

The media showed interest in sun safety, and several newspapers and a morning TV show interviewed CSF experts on sun protection. website

The CSF produced a website,, geared especially to men. The website builds on CSF surveys and studies targeted at men. It contains information on smoking, nutrition, exercise, sun safety, sexual health, alcohol and self-monitoring. The information is both factual and entertaining. The videos produced for the website involve not only ordinary men and experts, but also public figures such as Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden. The videos had more than 250 000 views on YouTube and the website had 110 570 visitors during the year.

Cooperation with other organisations and associations

In 2017–2018, the Cancer Society participated in the Liikkuva yhdistys project in collaboration with the Finnish Heart Association, the Organisation for Respiratory Health in Finland, the Finnish Diabetes Association and the Finnish Brain Association. The aim of the project is to work with regional associations to increase interest in exercise and physical activity at local branches. The project has organised training in different parts of the country.

In 2018, the CSF became a member of the Finnish Adapted Physical Activity Federation and the Age Institute. This will facilitate active cooperation with other physical activity professionals as well.

One Life. In 2018, the CSF joined the Yksi elämä project (One Life). The project involves the Finnish Heart Association, the Organisation for Respiratory Health in Finland, the Traumatic Brain Injury Association of Finland, the Finnish Diabetes Association, the Finnish Lung Health Association, the Finnish Association for Mental Health and the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim. The project targets citizens, policymakers, professionals, work communities and peer support providers. The aim of the project is to reach families with children, especially those in a challenging life situation. Another target group is people with a higher than average health risk or a lack of social safety nets. The project also aims to disseminate information to professionals and policymakers in the fields of education, social welfare and healthcare.

Reducing use of alcohol, tobacco and nicotine products among adults

In 2018, the focus of the CSF’s work to reduce the use of tobacco and nicotine products among adults was on stepping up efforts targeted at people who already had cancer. Working together with hospitals, the CSF promoted the Stop Smoking before Surgery model and organised lectures for ward personnel and healthcare professionals. We also sought, by various means, to promote the cessation of the use of tobacco and nicotine products by the adult population. We also participated in the work done in different parts of Finland to reduce smoking during pregnancy.

Alcohol. The CSF brochure on alcohol was distributed at a number of events. The cancer risk associated with alcohol was also addressed at lectures about cancer prevention.