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Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids today launched the “Don’t Get Burned” public service announcement contest for youth and young adults. Participants between the ages of 9 and 24 can create and upload a unique Instagram, Vine or 30-second video educating their peers about the dangers of smoking. The contest provides youth the opportunity to showcase their talents, join the fight against Big Tobacco and win cash and prizes totaling more than $5,000. Winning videos even have a chance to air on Chicago TV.
“The best way to help people quit smoking is making sure they never take up the habit in the first place,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Our young people can combat Big Tobacco by finding new, innovative ways to encourage one another to live healthy. This innovative video campaign is the next step in our comprehensive plan to snuff out youth smoking for good.”
Contest participants can choose from one of three themes for their video, including:
1. The dangers of flavored tobacco
2. The unique health harms of menthol-flavored cigarettes, or
3. Educating peers about the benefits of tobacco control policies
For full contest rules and submission instructions visit www.DontGetBurnedChicago.com. Submissions are being accepted now until October 30.
“We know the vast majority of adults who smoke today started when they were teenagers,” said CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D. “By calling on youth to help keep one another tobacco free, we are helping save them a lifetime of pain and disease.”
“We’re excited to partner with Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health on this initiative to mobilize young people to help create a tobacco-free generation,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “This initiative will build on the tremendous progress Chicago has already made in reducing youth smoking under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership.”
The contest expands upon the City’s current tobacco prevention public awareness campaign cautioning that youth “Don’t Get Burned” by big tobacco’s attempts to hook them on menthol-flavored cigarettes. It also follows a broad range of innovative strategies championed by Mayor Emanuel and CDPH to keep tobacco out of the hands of children. Early this summer, Chicago launched Check The Stamps, providing $100 rewards to residents whose reports of illegal sales of cigarettes result in a conviction against the person selling cigarettes illegally.
Earlier this year, the Mayor teamed with 14th Ward Alderman Edward Burke and 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns to pass an ordinance that requires e-cigarettes to be kept behind the counter in stores, out of the reach of kids. The Administration also joined with 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts and 16th Ward Alderman JoAnn Thompson to pass a prohibition on the sale of flavored tobacco products within a 500-foot radius of schools.
Smoking rates continue to decline across Chicago. In August, CDPH released a report showing youth and adult smoking rates in Chicago at all-time lows. In 2013, only 10.7 percent of Chicago high school students reported smoking, five points below the national average while only 17.7 percent of adults reported smoking, compared to 22.6 percent in 2011.