CyberFair Project ID: 4130

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Be a Good Global Citizen, Say No to Tobacco
Category: 7. Environmental Awareness

School: Ming-Dao High School
    Taichung County, Taichung County, Taiwan

4 students, ages 17 - 18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 10, 2006. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2006

Classes and Teachers: Huang Chung-chih

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

Li-wei is 17. He has been responsible for overseeing the creation of the main topics, establishing the project structure, and artwork design. After our team meeting, we were each assigned a specific task, and when those tasks were completed, they were given to Li-Wei and our teachers to put together.

Cheng-yen is 17. His main job was to collect and organize information, so our team could be running on the right track and the project would proceed without a hitch.

Chun-Yi is 17. He was responsible for the editing of our writing for this project. In addition, because of his public speaking ability, he was always the leader when it came to doing interviews and taking surveys.

Shu-yuan is 18. He was responsible for the artwork and design of this project, and he has always surprised us with fine work.

2. Summary of Our Project

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) first, and only international treaty, The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), became effective on February 27, 2005. The FCTC requires all its member nations to establish legislations to observe the various guidelines listed in the FCTC, so that the worldwide tobacco issue could be brought under control.

Even though Taiwan is not a member or an observer of the WHO, it still enacted laws to support the FCTC, becoming the 51st country to have passed this convention. Taiwan’s dedication to world public health is undeniable, and it shows that it has the capability to directly participate in the WHO’s major policy-making processes. Our nation is ready to take the next big step by participating in the WHO.

Our country is not a large nation but we do have a population of 23 million, giving us the 2nd highest population density in the world. Taiwan has a sound public health system, remarkable medical professionals, amazing R&D capabilities, and lots of valuable experiences. We are waiting to share with the rest of the world these experiences, but we are unable to participate due to many political reasons.

Therefore, we hope that by enacting the FCTC in Taiwan at the same time as the rest of the world, it would give us a chance to utilize our local experiences to open the door to participate in the WHO. The first step is tobacco control and prevention.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our school is connected to the Taichung area Internet hub–National Chung Hsing University–via a dedicated T1 line. We are also connected to the TAnet, the Hinet via three two-way 512K ADSL lines, and the Heshin System via a cable modem. All these Internet connections are fed into a load balancer so that different ISP’s could be sorted out. The parents and students use mostly 512/64K ADSL lines by Hinet at home.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

(1) Know the Truth about Tobacco Products - Because smoking is banned in school, and all the students are under the age of 18, we did not have any understanding about the tobacco products. We only knew that smoking is bad for the health, but we were unable to describe how it is bad for our health. Therefore, we decided to go to the bottom of the problem, and slowly took off the layers of masks about tobacco products. We have used extra time and made extra efforts to immerse ourselves in this project, so we could reach deep into the heart of the subject one step at a time.

(2) Interpreting Law Articles - In the past, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and Tobacco Control & Prevention Act (TCPC) were completely foreign to us, and we never tried to spend time and effort to understand them. Therefore, we could only ask our teachers and parents to explain the background and actual meanings of these regulations to us, enabling us to gain familiarity with the subject in a short period of time, so we were able to understand the domestic and foreign tobacco control policies in greater depth.

(3) Lack of Foreign Language Ability - Because of our limited English ability, we each have an instant translation software on our computers, so we could reference some related English websites. In addition, we had asked Mrs. Jen to be present at the 2005 Global Forum for Health Leaders, where only English was used, on our behalf. She had obtained a lot of valuable information about tobacco control and prevention, endowing our project with an international vision.

(4) Time Constraint - Because we have very heavy course load at school, in order to conform to each team member’s schedule, the most important thing is effective time management. We would use the lunch break and the weekend to work on the project. During the weekend, we were each assigned a certain task, then during the lunch break we would discuss what we had done over the weekend. Because we utilized good time management, we often found ourselves getting great returns on small investment of efforts, and we seldom fell behind in our progress.

(5) Integration of Opinions – In a team-oriented environment, it is inevitable to have a divergence of opinions sometimes. When that occurred, we would let each person fully expressed his opinion, then we would discuss the viability of each idea. If we had reach an impasse, we would take a vote and go with the majority.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

From the point of humanity, if we all treat anti-tobacco as if health mattered, then many people’s ways of life and values would change. Our lives are like a cigarette, it is becoming shorter and shorter. A complete lifetime is like an unlit cigarette, which is perfect.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

(1) Caring for Life - When the World Health Organization (WHO) placed tobacco control and prevention as the most important task of the 21st century, “Caring for Life” has become the common goal of the entire world. We do show our concerns to the tobacco farmers about their difficulty and struggles in the midst of the changing trend of our society toward healthier living; however, the tobacco farmers could choose to plant different crops, but the health of the general public is not something that can be taken lightly. This is a respect for life, as well as the principles of a series of life education lessons that we learn in school.

(2) Getting On Track Internationally - The WHO has gathered 29 experts from 12 nations in a conference in July of 2002. They combined all the research results about the second-hand smoking from around the globe and came up with the conclusion that “second-hand smoke is a carcinogen for the humankind”. Anti-tobacco has become a trend around the world. In order to follow this trend, we are trying our best to present the related discussions and debates domestically and internationally, with the hope of getting on track with other nations around the world.

(3) Sharing Opinions - We used paper survey, community seminar, and conversations to share the motivations and opinions about tobacco control and make the promotion much easier. It was happy to find that we were able to encourage smokers to meditate and apply what we were discussing with them.

(4) Put Thought Into Action - “Practice what we learn” is the goal and mission of our team. We have learned that when we were faced with a dilemma, we were able to use what we had learned to debate and prove, until we have found the most reasonable conclusion.

(5) Watching Media - Anti-tobacco movement is a highly sensitive topic that involves many different forces, such as the benefits of the tobacco companies, the livelihood of the tobacco farmers, and the human rights of the smokers are all bases for smokers to argue for. In order to keep an eye on the media’s reporting, we have asked the parents to help with the task of contacting the media. They wrote to the media to urge them to help with the public education by positive reporting to raise the level of tobacco control and prevention in Taiwan.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

(a) Desktop PC, Notebook PC – These were used to create and edit websites.

(b) Telephone – It was used to reach teachers, parents, team members, industry people, government offices, and customer service.

(c) Recording Pen – It was used to record interviewee’s words, as well as voice reminders for ourselves.

(d) Conventional Camera, Digital Camera, Digital Camcorder - These were used to record the entire production process, as well as record our field trips.

(e) Television - It was used for newscasts and related special reports.

(f) Monitor - It was used to view briefings and the videos that we recorded.

(g) Scanner - It was used for scanning pictures and photographs.

(h) Computer Software – (1) WORD2000 - Word processing (2) Dreamweaver MX - Webpage creation (3) Flash MX - Make animated pictures (4) Adobe Photoshop CS - Image processing (5) Adobe Illustrator CS - Illustration for images (6) SwiSHmax - Special effects for texts of title and first page (7) PHOTOIMPACT 8.0 - To edit drawings, photos, and pictures (8) Ulead GIF Animator 5 - Producing photo animation (9) WS-FTP95LE - To transmit data files (10) MS-IE6.0 - Searching Internet information and check results (11) ACDSee32 - Browsing pictures (12) MS-Outlook Express - Sending and receiving e-mails

(i) Library, Cultural Center - We searched for needed information in these places.

(j) Museum - It was used for collecting information and conducting interviews.

(k) Books, Magazines - These were used to search for and double-check information.

(l) Newspapers, Media - These were used to collect articles relating to the main topic.

(m) Verbal Interview - The most treasured information came from the oral narratives of related individuals.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

(1) Paper Survey - We had been taking surveys during the winter break. The topic of our survey was the basic knowledge about tobacco products, and our main subjects are the general public and the students. We wished to infuse some basic knowledge about the danger of smoking into the general public through the process of taking surveys. We have gradually acquired this knowledge after we started to work on this project. We feel that we have the responsibility and the duty to share what we had learned with others.

(2) Seminars - We have held several “Tobacco Control and Prevention” seminars in our school and community, during which we distributed brochures that contain laws and regulations about tobacco control, the health risk of smoking, the effect tobacco products have on our society, and how to stay away from the tobacco products. We asked the participating students and fellow citizens to spend some time to read through the brochures, so we could pass down the health information that could save their lives. After several seminars, we found out that not only did the students and the fellow citizens get drawn closer together, but we were able to accomplish our mission in the process.

(3) Surveillance - Reading thousands of books is no better than walking thousands of miles. Besides holding seminars, we were also taking the proactive approach, as we visited several stores that carry tobacco products to keep an eye on how they display the products. If they keep the cigarettes on open shelves, we would suggest to them that this is not a good practice, since minors would have an easy way of purchasing tobacco products. We even posed as customers to buy cigarettes. Some storekeepers sold them to us without even asking us for identifications. We even asked them, “we are under 18 years of age, are we allowed to buy cigarettes?” It was only then when they became speechless and took back the cigarettes they sold us. We realize that there are still lots of work to do on tobacco control, so even after our project is finished, we will continue our surveillance work.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

(1) Community - We are very fortunate that we have learned a great deal of medical knowledge through working on this research project, as well as understanding the danger of smoking in depth. In order to share what we have learned, we didn’t want to miss any chance to tell the smokers the terrible truth about smoking. Even though we weren’t always able to make them quit right away, at least they always responded positively to our advice, and promised us that they would cut back on smoking even if they couldn’t quit completely. The reaction of the community residents tells us that what we are promoting is working, and we feel an even greater responsibility.

(2) School - In the beginning, when our classmates first found out about the topic of our research project, many would ask us, “we don’t even smoke, why do we need to research into this subject?” We would always patiently answer them, “Just because we don’t smoke, there is an even greater need for us to understand the risk of smoking, so we will never become smokers in the future”. In the past, many of us believed that tobacco control and prevention is a subject that had nothing to do with us, since the school does not allow smoking. However, after we went through the data that we collected, most of us have made a decision that we will stay as far away from the tobacco products as possible. Not only do we not want to start smoking, but we also do not want to become victims of second-hand smoke.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

(1) Minister of Department of Health, Mr. Ho Sheng-mou, MD - On the first day of the 2005 Global Forum for Health Leaders, our volunteer parent talked with Dr. Hou about our research project during the discussion of the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control. Our volunteer parent received a lot of encouragement and supports.

(2) Department of Health Bureau of Health Promotion - We got in touch with them. They promised us to refer to any of the information provided on their website.

(3) John Tung Foundation Tobacco Control and Prevention Group - They are the first non-profit anti-tobacco organization in Taiwan, as well as the first non-WHO member to enter the Framework Convention Alliance. We asked them for permission to use the data on their website. They gave us the permission, and also sent us the correct website address in the European Union, which contains some shocking pictures and health warnings.

(4) Taiwan International Medical Alliance - The Taiwan International Medical Alliance has long been participating in international partnerships in the areas of education, promotion, and regulation. Their principle is to enable the countries being helped to become self-sufficient. We came into contact with the tobacco control and prevention project coordinator Ms. Huang Yi-bi and have obtained her support and the permission to use their data. It substantially increased our medical knowledge, as well as lending credibility to our project.

(5) Asia University Department of Healthcare Administration Assistant Professor, Dr. Ho Ching-song - Professor Ho was the host for the 2003 Taichung County Tobacco-Free Campus Assistance Project, as well as the brain trust behind the 2005 Tobacco Products Knowledge Assessment. He is currently conducting research at the University of Michigan but he still fervently told us some important points of tobacco control and prevention. We followed his direction and made some correction.

(6) Missouri Dentist Li Chih-yi, DDS - Dr. Li is a licensed dentist in Missouri, U.S.A. We got in touch with him through our supervising teacher. Dr. Li has been advising us about certain technical and medical terms, and he has been very helpful in the translation of our articles so we could avoid making context mistakes.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

(1) Discovering Behind Curtains of Tobacco - After we started this research project, we discovered that under the pretty packaging of cigarettes lies tons of unknown truth. The danger that cigarette poses on our health, our environment, our society, and our economy is vividly presented in front of the public after our relentless pursuit for truth. This discovery enabled us to say no to tobacco early, and it prompted us to advise our family and friends that staying far away from the tobacco products is the best thing they can do about their lives.

(2) A Lesson about Respecting Life - Life is just like time, because once it’s gone, it’ll never come back. Therefore life should be cherished, so that the life could be filled with hope. Smoking destroys lives, as it erodes health bodies gradually, which is akin to giving the lives to the Satan for judgment. Refusing to smoke is a way to show respect for lives; not only to one’s self, but also to the family and friends.

(3) The Surprise at Persistence - The social activists are always the incumbent parties, because their goal is to monitor the executive process of our government. Only with the existence of these justice-driven groups can our society and government continue to evolve. In the past several years, the non-profit anti-tobacco groups have been staying true to their original goal even under financial constraint and pressure from the opposition. They are working hard to create a tobacco-free environment for our fellow citizens. Their hard work should be appreciated, and their perseverance is truly amazing!


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