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Anti-Smoking Sites

Author Koren Stembridge
Air Date 1/11/2000

Anti-Smoking Sites Transcript

On January 11, 1964 Surgeon General Luther Terry released the first report on the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. Thirty-six years later, here are some of the basic facts:

First–80% of all smokers become addicted to cigarettes before they turn 18.

Second–Smoking kills 1,000 Americans each day.

Now, you don’t need a degree in advanced math to tell you that the tobacco companies need 800 teenagers a day to begin smoking–just in order to replace the smokers who are dying.

If you are a parent or other concerned adult, and you wonder how to do what you can to ensure that your child can brave the barrage of advertising and the weight of the pressure exerted by his or her peers in order to remain “smoke-free,” then log onto the Internet and check out some of these resources (so that you can recommend them to your children).

At the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids site, you can search an ABC’s of smoking to find out how smoking contributes to everything from allergies, to impotence, to wrinkles. This site is definitely not for the faint of stomach. The ABCs include a number of graphic photographs of smokers’ arteries, hearts, lungs and brains–showing clear evidence of how smoking pollutes the body.

Eduzone’s site features a discussion of how the tobacco companies entice young people to smoke by using images of youth, wealth, and glamour. Here you will also find a set of guidelines for parents to use when talking to their children about smoking. (It’s especially good at getting to the reality of how the seductiveness of the ads–a persuasive tack to take with teenagers who may be sensitive to being maniuplated.)

But if you or your children only visit one anti-smoking site, make sure you send them to the TRUTH site, sponsored by Florida’s Students Working Against Tobacco (or SWAT). Designed for teens, by teens, this site has an MTV-style appeal. TRUTH was created with funds from Florida’s 1997 $13 billion settlement with the tobacco industry.

You may have read about TRUTH’s series of anti-smoking ads. These ads are both controversial and effective and you can watch them online.

My personal favorite is an ad called the “Demon Awards.” This spot parodies a Hollywood awards show that features the “Most deaths caused this year” category, with the nominees of illicit drugs, smoking, and suicide. As you may have guessed, the demon who represents smoking “wins” the award for the ninth consecutive time–ironically, to the cheers of the crowd.

If these ads give you the shivers, they are meant to–so will the counter on the site that tells you how many teens started smoking this year. When I visited recently, that counter read more than two million.

And for a little comic relief, don’t leave the TRUTH site without checking out “Screaming Mimi.” Mimi is an irrepressible little animated girl, who screams “murderer!” at the adult who smokes while standing next to her. I found myself silently cheering Mimi on as she refuses to stand still and silent in someone else’s cloud of smoke.

Posted in Education