Teens oppose tobacco in new radio campaign

The Church is launching a nationwide public service anti-smoking campaign focusing on personal and family values and how they can influence a teenager's decision not to smoke.

"The Church feels it has a social responsibility to address smoking and its devastating consequences on teenagers," said Gerry Pond, executive producer of the radio public service campaign. "Children are smoking at a younger and younger age, so it is very logical that the Church would produce this series of announcements focusing on how family and personal values influence the choices that teenagers make."These 30- and 60-second radio messages are meant to educate and inform young people and their parents about how values can help people to avoid making bad choices in life."

Robert Hess, senior account executive for Bonneville Communications in Utah, said the eight spots were made from 50 interviews conducted with teenagers and families around the country.

"We were trying to tap into what will really work with kids, from whatever ethnic or religious background they come from. So we interviewed real teens in real situations," Hess said.

He said he was surprised by the character exhibited in the youth. He didn't expect so many teens to be rock solid in their decisions not to smoke. "These teens have reasoned through their decisions based on morals and things they have been taught. They knew what they did and didn't want, and they were willing to make sacrifices to stay away from smoking."

The public service announcements are companions to three radio programs opposing tobacco use produced by the Church's Public Affairs Department. The programs, entitled, "Teens and Smoking," "Kicking the habit" and "The Tobacco Epidemic," are part of the Church's Times and Seasons radio series that has 48 half-hour programs focusing on important moral and social issues.

The public service announcements are being sent on CDs to more than 8,000 radio stations nationwide.

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