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It’s A Waste tobacco use prevention campaign video contest semi-finalists showcased this weekend


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              Connecticut Department of Public Health

June 8, 2012                                                               Contact: William Gerrish

                                                                                   (860) 509-7270



Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that tobacco use among middle and high school students in Connecticut continues to decline, according to a recent school health survey.


The Youth Tobacco Component of the 2011 Connecticut School Health Survey show tobacco use rates among middle and high school students significantly declined over the past decade. Based on the survey, 4.6% of middle school and 19.9% of high school students used some form of tobacco in the month prior to taking the survey. In 2000, 13.1% of middle school and 32.4% of high school students reported tobacco use the month before the survey.


“Declining rates of tobacco use among Connecticut children is encouraging,” stated DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “But more work is needed to end the heavy toll tobacco places on our health. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable and premature death and the younger a person starts using tobacco, the more likely they are to become strongly addicted.”


Secondhand smoke exposure is still too common among Connecticut youth, with approximately 30% of middle and high school students reporting regular exposure to secondhand smoke in a variety of settings. Approximately 30% of both middle and high school students report living with someone who smokes cigarettes, and 16.9% of middle school and 20.5% of high school students say they were at home in the past seven days when someone smoked a tobacco product. More than 20% of middle school and 30% of high school students rode in a car in the past seven days with someone who was smoking cigarettes.


Cigarettes are the most common form of tobacco used, with 2.9% of middle and 14% of high school students reporting that they smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days. Other common forms of tobacco used include cigars and smokeless tobacco.


It’s a Waste Contest

To help prevent tobacco use among Connecticut youth, DPH conducted the “Tobacco. It’s a Waste.” video contest. The contest asked Connecticut teens ages 13-18 to submit videos to help educate their peers on why tobacco use is a waste. Public voting started May 28 at and will conclude on June 18. The winning videos will be used by DPH as tobacco prevention ads and will start airing July 16.


The 25 semi-finalist videos will be featured in a 30-minute special that will air on WTIC-TV (June 9 at 1 p.m.) and WCCT-TV (June 10 at 11 a.m.). Viewers will be able to vote for their favorite video via text message only during the special or online until June 18. For more information, go to


Survey Background

The Connecticut School Health Survey is administered in two sections in Connecticut by the DPH and the State Department of Education: the Youth Tobacco Component (YTC) and the Youth Behavior Component (YBC). The YTC is a comprehensive survey of tobacco use, access, cessation, knowledge and attitudes, and exposure among Connecticut students in grades 6-12; the YBC is intended to monitor priority public health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States.


Nationally, the YBC is called the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results from the national YRBS today.  National and Connecticut results can be viewed at:


In 2011, 4,299 middle and high school students completed the YTC and 2,058 youth completed the YBC. Both components met the CDC’s criteria to be considered representative of high school students in Connecticut (and middle school students for the YTC).


To view more results from the Connecticut School Health Survey, please visit


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.