February 17, 2001
|I Decide Bus Ads|
ANTI-TOBACCO BUS ADS UNVEILED
ROCKFORD, IL As part of the state's anti-tobacco campaign in Winnebago County, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today unveiled a series of ads featuring local teens that will begin appearing next week on Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) buses.
"The tobacco industry spends an estimated $232 million a year in Illinois to advertise its product and, in many cases, to try to recruit teens who represent the next generation of users," said Dr. Lumpkin, as he showed off a RMTD bus wrapped with messages against tobacco use. "Through our I Decide, youth-driven campaign in Winnebago County, we are experimenting with marketing strategies to fight attempts by tobacco companies to lure young people to use their highly-addictive and deadly products.
"Studies have found that if people do not begin to smoke as children or teenagers, it is unlikely they will ever do so. More than 80 percent of all adult smokers say they picked up the habit before age 18."
The ads will be displayed on the inside and outside of 18 buses, about half the RMTD fleet, for four months. The ads include photographs of middle and high school students from the I Decide teen advisory panel, health messages, facts about the consequences of tobacco use and reasons "not to get sucked in" by tobacco companies. The Department paid $40,000 to produce the ads and rent space on the outside of the buses. The RMTD provided 37 interior bus ads at no cost.
The 37-member teen advisory panel was organized in August 2000 to help direct the $3.9 million, year-long anti-tobacco movement that can serve as the basis for a statewide campaign. The first major public event took place in October 2000 when 230 teens from the county gathered at the Rockford MetroCentre for a special Kick Ash Bash: Make Some Noise brainstorming summit.
At the summit, the teens laid the foundation for the marketing strategies now being implemented, including the choice of I Decide as the movement's theme and selection of the concept of "All Smoke High" for the television commercials that began airing Feb. 12.
In addition to today's unveiling of the mass transit ads, teens from I Decide, along with Rockford IceHogs players and mascot and WZOK-FM, will be at CherryVale Mall's center court beginning at 1 p.m. to encourage other young people to join the anti-tobacco movement. The first 125 teens to sign up will receive two tickets to the March 11 IceHogs game and an I Decide t-shirt.
I Decide is a collaborative effort of the Department, the Winnebago County Health Department, the Regional Superintendent of Schools Office, school superintendents from throughout the county and elected officials.
For more information about I Decide, people can visit the movement's Web site at www.idecide4me.com.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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