What can we say or do to stop the nearly 3,000 kids and teens who will start smoking today? I certainly don't know, but I think the following Web sites have some pretty good ideas. Some of them use outrageously gross images to shock us, others use humor, and some take a scientific approach. Hopefully, as parents, teachers and peers, we can get the word out. Smoking is a deadly habit. Don't start.
The folks at the BADvertising Institute doctor-up tobacco ads to make them honest. "By juxtaposing silly, gross and disgusting images on top of deceitful ads, we jolt people into realizing how tobacco imagery is concealing the truth, and manipulating young people into addiction to tobacco." The "badvertisements" can be found scattered around the site, or visit the Gallery to view all seventy.
"Tobacco's Toll: 1,019,456 kids became regular smokers in 2001. 326,226 will eventually die from their addiction." Tobacco Free Kids encourages political action to stop the tobacco industry from targeting kids. For a twisted look at a serious problem, don't miss the "The Real Phillip Morris" animated e-movie. To learn how you can join the fight against tobacco, visit the Youth Action section. Other highlights are the Tobacco Ad Gallery and the Research Center.
With song and dance (and tongue-in-cheek) WholeTruth.com exposes many facts the tobacco companies prefer to gloss over. "Just stay focused on the positive. Every eight seconds a smoker dies -- it's becoming routine! But let's stay focused on the positive. Those seven seconds in-between." After watching the music video (which requires the QuikTime plug-in), you can read or print the lyrics, send the video to a friend and even download a ring tone of the catchy tune for your cell phone.
"Despite the fact that fewer adults in the United States are smoking in real life, there has been a significant increase of smoking in movies over the last several years. Since young people are frequent moviegoers, they are consequently being exposed to unrealistic smoking scenarios on a regular basis." Smoke Screeners is a video that illustrates how movies and television glamorize smoking. Although you'll need to send for the video, it is free from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After your video arrives, return to the site for terrific classroom activities and printable handouts.