A new campaign aimed at encouraging teenagers to quit smoking or never take up the habit in the first place, has been launched by the Irish Cancer Society (ICS).
Entitled ‘Teens are stupid', the campaign hopes to show young people how manipulative the tobacco industry can be through the use of a fictional character known as Corporate Tobacco Man. He will star in cinema advertisements, a campaign website (www.teensarestupid.ie), a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel and a Flickr account.
The campaign will also comprise of cryptic art installations, which will pop up in shopping centres around the country from Friday, July 9. These units will feature a teenage girl mannequin trapped in a glass box full of smoke. There is a handle on the inside of the box and the girl could free herself but she does not, like so many people who continue to smoke.
"Even though the tobacco industry has always claimed that it does not set out to target young people, millions of pages of previously internal tobacco industry documents show that the industry considers the recruitment of under 18 year olds essential to its survival. In Ireland, the tobacco industry needs over 50 young people to start smoking every day to remain viable.
"So we have invented Corporate Tobacco Man and through his many guises, we are showing how evil and sinister he is and how he reaches out to teenagers and subtly manipulates them to adopt a dangerous and expensive addiction to nicotine and a lifelong habit that often leads to ill health and premature death," explained Jane Curtin of the ICS.
The society has been helping people to quit smoking and discourage people from starting to smoke for many years. However it is currently placing a major strategic focus on teenagers.
To this end, the society is working with X-HALE (X'ing Out Harmful Addictions and Lethal Effects), a new smoke-free movement led by teenagers. X-HALE provides young people with an opportunity to air their views and concerns on tobacco and to take action to de-normalise and de-glamorise smoking.
Some 29% of the Irish population smoke and it is estimated that 15% of 12 - 17 year olds smoke. More than half of all smokers start before the age of 15, and 83% start before the age of 18.
"So look out for sinister Corporate Tobacco Man as he will be popping up in many different places over the next few months trying to get more ‘stupid teens' to start smoking and become dedicated and life long customers," Ms Curtin added.
The ICS is inviting teenagers who are angry about being targeted by the tobacco industry to get involved in this campaign:
• Visit www.teensarestupid.ie
• Find it on Facebook - search for Teens are Stupid
• Follow it on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teensarestupid
• Upload a video repsonse on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/TeensAreStupid
• Check it out on Flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/teensarestupid
Alternatively, young people can get involved with X-hale by contacting Siobhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very clever campaign. I would imagine that teens would respond much more to this than one of those typical HSE campaigns which just seem to say, 'X is bad - don't do it'.
Ironicly this ad is going to be shown in the cinema, the place that gives the tobacco industry it's best advertising. Smoking has always been associated with cool characters in cinema. The same way nerds wear glasses in films. How many kids want to wear glasses?
I so hate to be Judgmental or Contradictory of youth, they have their own mistakes to learn as we all did But it saddens me greatly to see young people lighting up and for this reason, I smoked for over 30 years and was a very heavy smoker at the time I stopped some 60 or 70 a day then I had a Brain Hemorrhage and never smoked again, When I had stopped smoking a month or two I discovered that many Ailments I had suffered from were eased or disappeared completely including Asthma which I used a puffer for I never used the puffer again, The pains in my legs when I walked any distance disappeared my feet felt warm again and my face changed from a purplish Grey to a healthy pink and gone was the atrocious cough, Many other aspects of my health have improved 100%
I would not have believed how my health in general has improved and see clearly the horrific cost to health and happiness that is caused directly by the practice of Smoking. That is why it saddens me to see these young people lighting up and polluting their youthful pink lungs with this poisonous killer.
I fully agree with kickstar. I have had a similar experience but unfortunately am stuck with the chronic asthma. I worked with a man who had to have both legs amputated because of smoking. He continued to smoke until his premature death. So sad!