Volume 94, Issue 43

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2000


Paul Martin goes to market

Welfare drug testing a possibility

Newfoundland tries to shock smokers

U of Michigan student dies after 20 shots of scotch

Campus Briefs

Maclean's says Ontario schools lagging

Corroded Disorder

Newfoundland tries to shock smokers

By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff

Cancerous mouths, gangrene feet and a face with a gaping hole in it are just a few of the images being used in Eastern Canada to stop youths from lighting up.

Dorian Coombs, advocacy co-ordinator at the Alliance for the Control of Tobacco, said its "Smoking Sucks" campaign has reached the midway point and is currently in the process of being formally evaluated to determine in its impact.

Coombs said the three year campaign, launched this past September, pushes the graphic nature of its message using television, radio, the Internet and three different posters.

"Every school in the province from grades four and up have been exposed and parents, teachers, students, the entire province have had nothing but good things to say about it," she said.

The alliance has been using a budget of $900,000 over the past year and a half to try and deter the 38 per cent of Newfoundland teenagers, the highest in the country, from smoking, Coombs said. "Only time will tell how successful the program is."

Marie-Josee Lapointe, VP-communications for the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council, disagreed with the alliances strategy and said the province has tried these kinds of campaigns in the past to no avail.

"Shock therapy does not necessarily lead to an alternative behaviour," she said about using their types of graphic ads. "What I've seen is that they usually have the opposite effect on teens who rebel against the message. It's very hard for young people to visualize and relate to the health effects of smoking when they are so young and healthy and will not see any sort of disease."

Lapointe added she has not seen any effective anti-smoking campaigns and wishes tobacco companies, advocate groups and governments would sit down and all work together to think of a solution. "We don't want kids to smoke either."

In Ontario, Eileen Jennings, communications manager at the Canadian Cancer Society, said the society is involved with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and have put together their 'truth' commercials as their main anti-smoking marketing.

She said the CCS are involved heavily with the federal government in combating tobacco abuse by raising taxes and the implementation of warnings on tobacco product packaging.

"If we were to implement something [like the Newfoundland] program we would work with our partners like the Lung Association or Heart and Stroke to put something in place," Jennings said.

Andrea Haughton, a grade 11 student attending Cawthra Park High School in Mississauga, said she has been smoking for three years and although warnings on both the media and tobacco packaging upset her, she said she still smokes.

"It worries me that smoking can causes cancer and can effect pregnancies but when you see it all the time, it doesn't have that big of an effect," she said.

Haughton added if a campaign like the one currently underway in Newfoundland were to come to Ontario, it would get the same result. "The first time you see it you'd say 'Oh my God!' But after that, it would just be the same thing."

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000