Teen Smoking Targeted in New York State Campaign
Albany, January 24, 1996 -- New York State is launching a new multimedia campaign to alert teenagers to the health hazards of cigarette smoking and to curb sales of cigarettes to minors, State Health Commissioner Barbara A. DeBuono, M.D., announced today.
"Compliance with New York's laws banning the sale of tobacco products to minors is a key element in preventing children from taking up the tobacco habit," Dr. DeBuono said. "The federal data show that New York's laws are among the best in the country, and our efforts with local health departments and businesses will help ensure that cigarettes become more difficult for teens to acquire."
The Health Department will spend $155,000 on the new campaign, including purchase of radio and TV airtime, and mailings of teen smoking prevention kits to all junior and senior high schools in the state. "Coupled with the $100,000 of matching airtime donated by cable television stations, this brings our total effort to $255,000 to combat teen smoking -- which is the most ever spent on teen smoking prevention in one year by New York State," Dr. DeBuono said.
"We think this an excellent step forward, particularly since the ads will be targeted to teenagers," said Martha McNeil, Director of Public Affairs for the American Cancer Society of New York State. "Preventing cancer deaths begins with preventing kids from starting to smoke."
The teen smoking prevention campaign consists of the following:
- Airing of television spots on stations with large youth audiences, including MTV, Nickelodeon, and VH-1. The State will buy $100,000 in airtime on these stations and the Cable Television Association of New York will provide an additional $100,000 in free matched airtime.
- Purchase of $50,000 in radio air time on stations with large youth audiences. Radio spots, to be produced by the Health Department, will stress that smoking is not "cool" and it may make teens unpopular with their peers.
- Mailing of teen smoking prevention kits to all 2,200 junior and senior high schools in the State. The kits include: pamphlets, posters, anti-smoking pledge forms, teacher resources and suggested school activities. This mailing will cost approximately $5,000.
- Coordinated efforts with local health departments, tobacco retailers and key business organizations to improve compliance with existing laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors.
"The campaign comes in response to a survey conducted by the State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services that shows smoking among New York teenagers on the rise."
"The new data on teen smoking are alarming," Dr. DeBuono said. "From 1990 to 1994, smoking by seventh- and eighth-graders in New York increased from 31 percent to 44 percent. Daily use of tobacco has increased from 14 percent to 17 percent of all junior high and high school students. And more than 55 percent of New York children have used tobacco at least once before they leave high school. Mass media campaigns have proven to have a significant effect on teenage behavior."
"The television spots that New York will air were produced by the state of Massachusetts which has graciously provided them to us at no cost to the State," Dr. DeBuono said. "This is a real boon to our efforts, because it allows us to target our dollars to buy air time, instead of paying for production costs."
Commissioner DeBuono said the ads will begin airing on cable television stations and radio stations within 30 days.
"With youth smoking on the rise, it is important that today's teens receive a strong message: Don't start smoking. And if you've already started, quit. Now," Dr. DeBuono said.
1/24/96-7 OPAContact: Claudia Hutton, Director, Public Affairs (518) 474-7354
New York State Department of Health Posted: February 5, 1996