October 23, 2000
|Kick Ash Bash: "Make Some Noise" Agenda|
WINNEBAGO COUNTY TEENS POISED
ROCKFORD, IL It is time for Winnebago County teens to "kick some ash" and "make some noise" at a special brainstorming summit designed to educate and empower youth to lead a movement against tobacco use.
Called the "Kick Ash Bash: Make Some Noise," the two-day event, which begins Monday evening at the Rockford MetroCentre and concludes Tuesday evening, will bring together about 300 teens from public and private schools throughout the county to kick-off a year-long anti-tobacco effort.
"Teenagers from Winnebago County have a unique opportunity to assist the state of Illinois in developing strategies that will provide the basis for a statewide anti-tobacco effort aimed at youth," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director.
"The time for this generation to make choices about tobacco use and their health is now," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Studies have found that more than eight of 10 adults who smoke say they started before age 18, but for those who don't begin to smoke as teenagers or children, it is unlikely they ever will do so."
The teen summit, part of a $3.9 million program by the Illinois Department of Public Health and First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan's "Futures for Kids" initiative, is one of three major components of the state's overall strategy to prevent smoking and the use of tobacco that is being funded by the 1998 court settlement with the nation's tobacco companies.
Workshops will be held on advocacy, special events, advertising, media and selecting an identity for the campaign. In addition, the teens will be entertained by Sticks of Thunder, a percussion group, and hear presentations from David and Matt of MTV's Real World New Orleans. A teen from South Dakota will provide insights on what anti-tobacco strategies have worked and not worked in her state.
By the end of the summit, the teens will decide on a brand name for the anti-tobacco movement and help direct the next steps for the television, radio and other media advertising concepts. The teens also will be asked to assist with building enthusiasm for the effort in their schools, and consult on possible special events and ideas for exhibits.
Teenagers from Winnebago County high schools will be represented at the Kick Ash Bash, along with youth from some grade and middle schools. Flyers urging teens to apply to participate in the summit were distributed to school districts and handed out at football games, malls and other places where teens gather. Kids were selected to ensure there is a geographic -- urban and rural -- and ethnic balance.
Prior to the organization of the summit, a teen advisory panel of 16 middle and high school students from Winnebago County was formed to provide insight in how best to reach kids with anti-tobacco messages.
Dr. Lumpkin said Winnebago County was chosen for the initiative because of the county's racial mix; the contained news media market, which includes all four major television networks; and the enthusiasm and willingness of school and elected officials in the county to participate.
More than one third (34 percent) of Illinois high school students in grades nine through 12 reported that they had smoked a cigarette in the previous 30 days, according to the most recent state survey data (1999, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Survey). Nationally, 34.8 percent of high school students said they smoked a cigarette in the past month.
It is estimated that more than 60,000 Illinois teenagers take up smoking each year. A third of those young people are destined to become regular smokers who will eventually die as a result of their smoking. Tobacco use is responsible for more than 20,000 deaths each year in Illinois, or one in every five deaths, and is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the nation. It is well documented that smoking can causes chronic lung disease, coronary heart disease and stroke, as well as cancer of the lung, larynx, esophagus, mouth and bladder.
of Public Health
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Springfield, Illinois 62761
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