Category - Youth Leadership

This showcases the work that our youth and youth adults do for a better nicotine free, future generations. It is a testimony of their journey and will even be frequently updated as they progress in their advocacy, be it local, regional and/or international

Raffles Institution’s 17 year old students reaching out to 12 year olds to keep them away from Nicotine

Congratulations to our Tobacco Free Generation Advocates from the 2018 GapSemester programme. Regan, Ethan and Shashank mastered their TFG materials and confidently delivered the TFG sub themes to leave permanent impressions in these juniors. Shashank graduated from Concord Primary and it is exemplary that he has reached back to his alma mater, bringing along his fellow Rafflesians. Thank you Concord Primary for welcoming TFG last 18 October 2019. Your students were very attentive and participatory. Congratulations Concord Primary for these well behaved learners.


Shruti: The public were generally very receptive towards our advocacy and we were able to target people from various age groups which definitely gave us an added boost. Being able to contribute something back to the community with Tobacco Free Generation has been enlightening and heartening. We are definitely sure that our activities have brought about a positive impact to the community!!

Jessica : I was surprised that most of the participants were so enthusiastic about playing the games, especially the chapteh and five stones, and that so many of them would support the idea of a Tobacco Free Generation. 

Francine : I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the public and getting to know more about their opinions on tobacco free generation. Overall, I had a meaningful experience participating in this! F

Hui Bin : Not only was this experience rewarding and fulfilling, I also had a lot of fun learning how to manage a large group of public when the booth was very crowded. I learnt to quickly toggle between speaking English and Chinese quickly when needed, and learnt to manage and motivate different types of people. Overall, it was an extremely enriching experience for me. 

Sophie : It was an interesting experience as I had never had such an opportunity to interact with so many members of the public before. This experience was worth my Saturday afternoon. I also feel that the tobacco-free generation idea is an interesting and possible more effective take on curbing smoking. 

Chloe : It was an opportunity to learn more about tobacco free generation and about how youths are easily influenced to smoke as I am not usually exposed to these youth. I was heartened to see so many people in support of this cause and even smokers who responded that they were more inclined to stop smoking! Overall, it really was a valuable experience! 

Yun Han : I had an enjoyable experience interacting and teaching the public. Many knew about the harmful effects of smoking quite thoroughly too, given the amount of awareness raised about it by the government. However, I think that this activity promoted this message a step further. It is no doubt that the public would be more willing to encourage their family and friends to not pick up smoking too! Overall it was really an interesting and meaningful experience for me! 

Amelia : I think that this journey has been very enriching, from the planning to the execution of this initiative. I think it was very heartening to see our participants from different ages and walks of life enjoying our activities and the traditional games, and so many of them saying that they learnt something from our activities and would support the idea of a Tobacco Free Generation. 

Natalie : The volunteering experience overall was definitely very enriching and I felt that my time was well-spent for a good cause! Personally, I also learnt about the negative effects of smoking and the vision of a tobacco free generation. During the event, it was heartening to spread the message to young children in whatever small way I could and seeing them pledge to support the TFG at the end made me feel a sense of satisfaction. Maybe, in whatever small way, I contributed towards another child choosing to never smoke.


Heidi :It was a meaningful and fulfilling experience for me. When asked if they would take up smoking in the near future, the public also indicated that they would not and some even supported having a tobacco-free singapore. Overall, it was a good experience. 

Shermaine : I think the most unexpected thing was many people were happy to be playing the games they played during their childhood. They shared their childhood memories with us. People of all walks of life bonding through the games drawing in the younger generations trying out the games. The public was also very supportive of tobacco-free generation ideas. I think one of the best parts was interacting with young children.

HY :I think the best part of this initiative was when we saw participants interacting with each other. An example would be when people from the older generation demonstrated how to play traditional games for the younger children and of course when they were receptive to our message and supported our cause! 

Natasha : I had a meaningful experience promoting for Tobacco Free Generation. Most did say that they would tell their children not to smoke as they understood the dangers of smoking. They could help us spread the message of a TFG future too. Overall, it was very fun and heartening to see so many people participating actively!

Rebecca :Volunteering that day was extremely meaningful. I appreciate the promotion of a tobacco free generation. I felt proud that I could spread awareness on this.

Giselle : It was quite a fulfilling experience as I’ve never interacted with so many people before. Sharing and spreading the message to stay away from smoking has been quite successful in a way though we were met with many non smokers. I think if we had more teenage visitors, it’d have been more successful. Overall, it was a meaningful experience and I really enjoyed it! 

Bernice : From volunteering that day, I realised that children are easily influenced by their elder siblings and parents. They may very well also affect bigger decisions such as whether or not to pick up smoking. This is why I  was especially happy when parents encouraged their children to learn about the project’s message and together pledged to support a Tobacco Free Generation.

TFG AFRICA 2019 by Ms Naomi H, TFG since 2018

One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.” -William Osler

This quote from the father of modern medicine beautifully encapsulates the fundamental concepts of advocacy work: education, collaboration and empowerment. Advocacy; A once foreign concept to me, it has now begun grow close to my heart and take roots in the soil of my beliefs as the golden ticket to effecting positive change in public health. 

As part of my journey of transition from a pharmacist to a medical student, I have had the privileged opportunity to experience and be a part of a youth advocacy movement against tobacco use (Tobacco Free Generation, TFG) This was my second dabble with advocacy work – the first being a mere few months prior to this trip. Whilst the first opened my eyes to the evident importance of youth-driven advocacy work, this trip very much crystallized my conviction that the raw untapped energy of youth can be harnessed to drive positive social movements. 

Together with two youth leaders, Dr Lynn Ong, and Jessica Koong, led by a founder, Dr Koong Heng Nung, our team worked tirelessly over a week. We convened with local policy makers for planning of TFG future advances, met with community leaders to introduce the concept of TFG, and trained local youth leaders in advocacy work and public speaking. 

While it was indeed heartening to hear the policy makers and the community leaders express enthusiastic support for TFG, what impressed most strongly upon me was the work that was done involving the local youth leaders. The youth leaders were carefully selected from an impressive myriad of backgrounds ranging from poets, to public speakers and actors. Over days of assiduous coaching and mentoring by Lynn and Jessica, we witnessed the blossoming of the initially taciturn youths, leaving the confinements of their reticence to become independent and convincing advocates for the vision of a tobacco free generation.

I came away from this experience with two convictions that stood out as veridical to me. 

First: I saw how raw youthful enthusiasm can be, and ought to be harnessed and channelled towards creating prodigious change in public health. The Tobacco Free Generation has been exceptionally successful in gaining traction in various international communities for this very reason: it recognises the untapped energy and virulent influence of youths and uses it industriously to drive positive social movements.

Second and more importantly: The Tobacco Free Generation end game concept distinguishes itself from other anti-tobacco and end game strategies by a single simple ingenious strategy. It creates no divide between the smokers and non-smokers, but rather, takes on the fight against tobacco-use from a refreshing angle. By doing so, TFG successfully removes the banality from the usual platitudinous teachings about the harms of smoking and bands the smokers and non-smokers, creating a greater reckoning force in the fight against tobacco.

Teacher’s Feedback to Raffles Institution students’ TFG presentation in Singapore. 5 & 7 Aug 2019

It was great to have your team and you in our school, raising the awareness of the ill effects of smoking and t introducing to them to the TFG 2000 proposal.

Your team’s sharing has been engaging and impactful. The questions asked in the sessions and video presented enabled my pupils to be constantly reflective and insightful. Our pupils mentioned that the talk was meaningful.

Thank you so much for taking the time to come to our school to share with our pupils.

Mdm Wendy Ng
AE Coordinator
Nan Hua Primary School

Advocating by Raffles Institution’s students. Singapore

We congratulate the four Raffles Institution students for reaching out to 12 year old students before these younger ones are tempted by smoking or vaping.

5 and 7 August 2019 : Four 17 year old students who learnt about TFG last year, stepped forward to explain TFG to the younger peers as part of their Community Outreach Project. There was immediate engagement as they were sharing as peers. They were neither imposing a top down enforcement nor showing the deaths and diseases of nicotine addiction. They discussed.


DepEd, government agencies support tobacco-free generation initiative : SunStar Pampanga 2018

The TFG Movement in Bataan started in 2016, and has completed its information campaign this year with 44,173 students from 44 junior high schools who committed to never smoke in their lifetime. (PR)

United to promote the positive and youth engaging, TFG ecosystem
for The Free Generation, our future generations..

Overcoming misunderstandings of TFG

This has been labelled against TFG in 2016 : “Such a cohort ban would be easy to circumvent, … For example, a person affected by the ban could buy cigarettes overseas, or get an older relative or friend unaffected by the ban to buy cigarettes for them”.

Think beyond : These scenarios exist even with the Minimum Age Law (the affected cohort buying overseas or above 18 buy cigarette for the under 18). They are inappropriate application to negate TFG.

A reflective piece from a youth who presented TFG in Jakarta. Oct 2018

Age does not determine one’s power when it comes to advocacy and spreading knowledge : Read Jancy’s reflection, 17 year old student.

“I was given the chance to present to a group of university students, aged between 20-23 years old. Being only 17 and only studying in high school, I was not sure how seriously they would take my presentation or how much impact I could bring. I was hesitant and unconfident at the start. However, as I watched Emma, another girl who was on the trip with us, presenting, I suddenly realised that age did not matter. Emma was only a year older than me, yet she had given such a good speech to grasp the attention of the students. I noticed that what had allowed Emma to effectively deliver her message, was her courage and her passion in conveying what she had felt strongly about. In the end, whether we are younger than the audience we are targeting or not, it doesn’t matter. What is important, is our passion and conviction when it comes down to sharing. This inspired and motivated me to be more confident in my presentation. As I presented again at the University of Indonesia, I made sure that my words came from my heart and not from the script I had prepared.” 

“Following this, we had another workshop for kindergarten teachers, at a kindergarten in Bogor. This time, it was teachers we were presenting to. The same however, applies. Age didn’t matter. Regardless of the fact that whom we were presenting to were older than we were, it didn’t change their desire to learn or our desire to share our thoughts and knowledge. I have come to understand that so long as we are passionately pursuing something, that is all that matters. Passion brings people further and passion also connects people.

“Stepping out of my comfort zone and presenting in front of a large group of people has taught me that sometimes it takes courage and a leap of faith to do what we might think is impossible or difficult, to realise that it is actually much simpler and more fulfilling than we think it is.”

Y.O.U.T.H.S’ O.P.I.N.I.O.N

Read these opinion pieces from Singapore youths.

21 Jan 2019 “Implementing no-smoking zones could be problematic as enforcement actions could generate unhappiness and anger among smokers. This may even lead to physical assault or injuries.”

4 Feb 2019 “Birth year-based policymaking sets more ideal standards on the younger generation while still respecting older policies implemented on preceding generations.”

17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health Declarations announced at conference close Dr Harry Lando, Chair of the WCTOH Organizing Committee in 2018

WCTOH 2018 Declarations

  1. We call on governments to unite with civil society to stop tobacco industry interference and accelerate implementation of the WHO FCTC using a whole of government approach.
  2. We urge governments, scientists, research entities, foundations, and civil society organizations to reject or cease engagement with the Philip Morris International-funded Foundation for a Smokefree World and other initiatives of the tobacco industry
  3. We adopt the Cape Town Declaration on Human Rights and a Tobacco-free World
  4. We call on African governments to operationalize the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development that recommends increasing tobacco taxes as an untapped, sustainable domestic resource mobilization strategy, for accelerating the implementation of the WHO FCTC in Africa
  5. We call on Parties to actively engage in the development of the WHO FCTC Medium Term Strategic Framework and Plan and to endorse them at the forthcoming eighth session of the Conference of the Parties of the WHO FCTC.
  6. We support the concept of a tobacco free generation and commit to empowering youth involvement and advocacy as a means to achieving a tobacco free world.
  7. We call on Finance Ministers to actively support the WCTOH 2018 Declarations by prioritizing sustainable funding for tobacco control and ceasing public and private investment in the tobacco industry.
  8. We call on governments to extend as a priority, fiscal policies to continually decrease the affordability and accessibility of tobacco products
  9. We call on the Parties to the WHO FCTC to integrate gender based data collection and reporting into Party reports to the Conference of the Parties on their implementation of the WHO FCTC by COP9.
  10. We call upon the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to align with the decision of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and end its collaboration with the tobacco industry immediately
  11. We call upon governments to develop a plan by 2021 for phasing out the sale of tobacco products.

Youth pre-conference delegates unite to build a tobacco free generation

President of the Youth Committee, Inge Kleinhans drew the conference to a close, reading the conference declaration: “We commit to the fight against tobacco and call for the implementation of Tobacco Free generation in our time. For this, we propose a birth year of 2010 beyond which children will no longer be able to purchase cigarettes. We commit to support the global tobacco free generation movement, as well as to the creation of Tobacco Free Africa, a youth driven platform with a mandate to facilitate the Tobacco Free Generation movement throughout Africa.

TFG @ Asean Youth Forum on Tobacco Control, Bangkok, Thailand in 2017

TFG was invited to share at Asean Youth Forum on Tobacco Control, Bangkok Thailand on June 29 – 30. We shared the tobacco free generation message to 80 participants from ASEAN region. The Thai PM and Minister of Tourism and Sports also took time off from their busy schedules to meet the participants. TFG is glad and appreciative of the Thai government’s efforts in protecting the younger generation from the harms of tobacco.






TFG lead student delegation to Balanga City Philippines in 2016

TFG led a delegation of students from Raffles Institution Singapore to Balanga City, Philippines in September 2016. The program is a collaboration between TFG, Raffles Institution and the City of Balanga. RI students interacted with City of Balanga officials to learn more about the administration of a small city in the Philippines, especially in the area of implementation of a community healthcare initiative like tobacco free generation. The students also interacted with student leaders from leading schools in Balanga, exchanging ideas and working on a common themed project. Students were also given the opportunity to participate and lead in presentations to local schools, experiencing first hand community programs.

TFG express our thanks and gratitude to the various parties for making this trip a success, in particular Raffles Institution Singapore, officials from City of Balanga & Bataan National High School, Philippines.



NUS Medical Society Community Service Summit, 2016

Students from Raffles Institution, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School, Raffles Girls’ Primary School and Guang Yang Secondary School came together at the National University of Singapore Medical Society’s Community Service Summit to share the Tobacco Free Generation concept to first year medical students. Held at the Tahir Foundation Building, they hope to inspire these future leaders of health care to join this preventive health care vision aim to stop a pandemic that is expected to kill 1 billion people in the 21st Century.


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