FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
February 11, 2010 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is sponsoring a contest for 13-24 year olds across the state to create their own television commercial aimed at preventing their peers from using tobacco. The contest is part of a new, statewide tobacco prevention campaign called “Tobacco. It’s a Waste.” Through the program, public health officials hope to appeal to today’s technology-savvy young people and harness the power of peer influence to prevent youth and young adults from smoking or chewing tobacco.
“We recognize the power of peer-to-peer communications and that’s why we feel messages developed by youth and young adults will resonate strongly among their peers,” says DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin. “The contest is a fun and creative way to give youth and young adults an active voice in preventing tobacco usage.”
The contest encourages youth and young adults to develop 25-second videos that demonstrate what a waste tobacco is – a waste of money, time, health and life. The winning spots will air as television commercials in Connecticut over the next one to two years as part of the state’s tobacco prevention efforts. In addition to seeing their TV commercials on air, contest winners will also receive prizes including a Blu Ray DVD player and the chance to win the grand prize of tickets and a private meet and greet to this season’s American Idol concert.
Contest entries are being accepted online at www.ItsaWaste.org from February 15, 2010 through April 2, 2010 in the following categories: ages 13 -14; ages 15-17; ages 18-24; Spanish language ages 13-17; and Spanish language: ages 18-24. The contest is open to all Connecticut residents 13-24 years old with contestants encouraged to submit more than one video.
Accepted videos will be posted on the contest website and the general public will have its chance to vote on semi-finalists from April 21 through May 4. The entries with the most votes will automatically advance to the finalist round. A panel of judges comprised of community leaders will view all finalist videos. Each video will be judged on a detailed set of criteria and one winner for each category will be chosen. Winners will be announced in May.
DPH has partnered with the Connecticut Association of Schools to promote the contest at middle and high schools across the state. The contest is also being promoted through colleges and universities and community organizations. The tobacco prevention campaign is being further supported through a mass media campaign and, later this year, will take prevention messages to events across the state.
In Connecticut, over 20 percent of high school students use tobacco with nearly 10 percent of male high school students using smokeless or spit tobacco. Annually, 4,000 youth under the age of 18 become new smokers in the state.
For more information about the “Tobacco. It’s a Waste.” campaign and complete contest information and rules, please visit www.ItsaWaste.org.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.