Health Minister Robin Swann joins Cancer Focus NI lecture on Health Promotion & Behaviour Change as part of No Smoking Month

This afternoon, the Cancer Focus Northern Ireland Health Improvement Manager, Naomi Thompson, addressed physical education and sport students at Stranmillis University College. She was joined by Health Minister Robin Swann, who spoke to students about the role of health promotion and risk factors such as smoking, obesity and alcohol on overall health.

Speaking at the event, Robin Swann said: “Preventable disease has a major impact on many people in Northern Ireland and it also presents huge challenges for our health service, so supporting people to make healthier choices is incredibly important if we are to build a healthier population. Education is a crucial part of that and I welcome the opportunity to engage with these students on some of the ways we can lower our risk of developing diseases such as cancer. I hope that they will take forward that learning into their future careers and I wish them every success.”

Naomi’s lecture came in light of No Smoking Month and recognition that healthy habits can help reduce the prevalence of cancer, by mitigating some cancer risk factors.

“The students in this course will all go on to promote health in their communities, whether that is by working as a PE teacher, sports coach, health promotion officer, or other role entirely,” commented Naomi. “The students will hopefully use this knowledge to be aware of both health promotion for the individual and also broader aspects of how to make health promotion work, to use across health promotion and cancer prevention topics – smoking, vaping, obesity, alcohol, et cetera. The topics may change, but the broad methods work for all. Everyone has a part to play in preventing ill health and we need this focus as the numbers will only increase as we become an aging population.

“We are delighted that Health Minister Swann was able to join us today. Health promotion and cancer prevention are key to enabling a healthier society. We are glad to see him recognize their importance – and to share with him some of the science behind health promotion and behaviour change!

“Thank you to Stranmillis University College for having us and for helping to train the next generation of community health professionals.”


To learn more about cancer prevention and healthy living, visit