Superheroes, Schools and Cyberspace Unite to Prevent Tobacco Use1 avril 2008
[ENGLISH] The Tobacco Free Florida Campaign is aggressively targeting the approximately 1.5 million youth ages 11 to 17 with the campaign’s cigarette and smokeless tobacco prevention message. The campaign’s comprehensive approach includes youth-focused ads, in-school PSAs, a custom limited edition JUSTICE LEAGUE comic book, and online initiatives such as downloadable Smoke-Free Songs, campaign sites on Facebook and MySpace and a YouTube video contest.
Recognizing the resurgence of comic book popularity among youth, the campaign has partnered with DC Comics — the largest English language publisher of comic books in the world — with the « No Smoke Without Fire » custom comic book featuring the JUSTICE LEAGUE Super Hero team of SUPERMAN, BATMAN, ROBIN, WONDER WOMAN, THE FLASH and GREEN LANTERN. DC Comics’ most popular characters battle cigarette smoke-generating machines and empower youth to avoid the dangers of the deadly habit. Comic books will be distributed to middle school students across Florida and featured on the Tobacco Free Florida website (http://www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/). On Free Comic Book Day (May 3), participating comic book stores across Florida will offer free copies of « No Smoke Without Fire » to youth and parents.
Teens are among the top Internet users who engage in online chats, e-mail and discussion forums. The Tobacco Free Florida campaign created profile pages for the two largest social networks on the web — Facebook and MySpace. These social networking websites, which are twice as likely to be popular among smokers ages 18-24, give users the opportunity to affiliate themselves with the Tobacco Free Florida campaign by becoming a « fan » (Facebook) or a « friend » (MySpace), post their comments and connect with others who are campaign fans and friends. After only a few weeks, the Facebook site has accumulated more than 4,000 fans.
Since more than half of online teens download music, the campaign created Smoke-Free Songs, which provides free downloadable songs from non-smoking Florida bands including Maida Vale, Sarah Mac Band, The Twelfth Chapter, Jonny Diaz and Paul Clayton. New songs will be continuously added to http://www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/smokefreesongs .
The campaign has also partnered with YouTube to sponsor the YouCare video contest where entrants share why they don’t smoke. The contest allows users to vote for their favorite submission and the top 50 videos will be shown on the first ever statewide On-Demand channel devoted exclusively to the campaign, reaching more than 2 million subscribers to Comcast and Bright House Networks Digital Cable. A panel of judges will pick the grand prize winner who will receive an Apple iMac(R) computer and an iPod(R) touch.
Smokeless tobacco is also a serious health issue. To educate youth on the dangers, the campaign created an ad series depicting baseball cards with players named Billy « Jawbreaker » Smith and « Silent » Evan Jackson. The ads highlight hard-hitting statistics including that chew users are 50 times more likely to get cancer of the cheek and gums and that smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing chemicals and three times the nicotine as cigarettes. These will run in Sports Illustrated and the Florida High School Playbook.
Last year in Florida, 14.7% of high school students and 6.1% in middle school reported they had smoked cigarettes once in the past 30 days. The Tobacco Free Florida Campaign in partnership with the Florida Department of Education is targeting these youth through the distribution of an anti-tobacco PSA on the Florida Knowledge Network potentially reaching 600,000 middle school students. The message is presented by teens and includes the short- and long-term effects of smoking, the costs of the habit, and that you don’t have to smoke to fit in.
For additional information on the Tobacco Free Florida campaign, contact Pam Schultetus at (850) 668-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.