Graphic quit smoking campaigns haven't shocked 18-year-old Chris Machin into giving up the habit.
The Thirroul teen, who started smoking at 15 because he was hanging around an older crowd, will be part of a youth team who will give input into a new quit smoking project targeting teens aged 13 to 17.
The collaborative project between Thirroul Neighbourhood Centre, Illawarra Youth Drug and Alcohol Service and University of Wollongong researchers aims to create quit smoking materials that will be distributed to youth centres and schools across the region.
The project was given a boost this week with the announcement of $9845 in funding as part of UOW's Community Engagement Grants Scheme (CEGS) for 2012.
"At the moment resources being used in quit programs and advertising campaigns are targeted at adults, and young people are just not engaging with them," UOW's Centre for Health Initiatives research manager Lance Barrie said.
"It's difficult for government and other agencies to target the under 18s as legally they shouldn't be buying cigarettes, but the fact is that a number of those aged between 13 and 17 do smoke.
"That's why we will be working with our community partners to develop an age-specific set of resources to help young people quit smoking.
"Young people are at the heart of the project so we can develop material that is relevant and applicable to them, and to use channels like social media they will engage with."
Chris Machin wants to quit, but his attempts have not been successful so far.
"The ads do make you think but they haven't stunned me into giving up," he said. "Hopefully this project will help me quit, and help stop others from starting in the first place."
Thirroul Neighbourhood Centre co-ordinator Emily Messieh said many young people wanted to quit, but did not have the proper help at hand.