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Statewide Anti-Smoking Campaign Takes New Approach in Curbing Teen Smoking
Date:2/16/2009

Edgy youth tobacco prevention campaign will be hard for teens to ignore

PHOENIX, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona seeks to set precedence with its new tobacco prevention and education campaign -- "Brought to you by addiction." -- a mass media and grassroots campaign that harnesses the realities of tobacco addiction for an audience age 12 to 17. Its launch, today, marks a new frontier in teen focused anti-smoking campaigns in Arizona that until now focused on the health impacts of smoking. The campaign, which was created in consultation with a group of teen advisors -- some smokers, some friends of smokers -- is anchored in best practices from tobacco control experts across the nation and spear headed by Arizona's Tobacco Revenue Use Spending and Tracking Commission (TRUST Commission) which works with the Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco Education & Prevention (ADHS BTEP).

"Many teenagers perceive smoking as an intermediary activity, one that they will stop in a year or two. The reality, however, is that they find themselves addicted," said Wayne Tormala, bureau chief for ADHS BTEP. "While most teen campaigns focus on health impacts, research pointed us in a new direction, one we believe will forever change the way youth perceive commercial tobacco."

Through research it was discovered that forfeiting control to addiction was more relevant to teens than the health impacts message. In fact, there was a stagnant attitude toward the health effects of commercial tobacco use among the Arizona teens ages 12 to 17 who were interviewed. While they were well aware of the health implications and easily recited its impacts, these consequences were perceived as far removed from their immediate lives.

Ultimately, the idea of focusing the campaign on addiction was affirmed by both local and national research. Instead of health impacts, focus group participants were more moved by
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SOURCE Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco Education & Prevention
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