Special points of interest:
RC Trainings – New York Spreads the Word New Study: Smoking in Movies Influences Teens Website: Updates, Board Members Answer Questions from the Web
Volume 1, Issue 3 June 2003
Hollywood Culminating Events
Troy Region - Reality Check’s 2003 Fame and Shame Awards was held on Saturday, March 29, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Albany. The awards, part of a five-month long project, Tobacco & Hollywood: Headed Toward a Breakup, was designed to raise awareness about the glamorization of tobacco use in Hollywood films and challenge the movie industry to eliminate smoking in G, PG and PG-13 films. “The time has come for Hollywood to listen to the teens that are its most loyal customers and stop doing Big Tobacco’s dirty work,” said renowned anti-tobacco activist and founder of University of California San Francisco-based Smoke Free Movies, Dr. Stanton Glantz. “Movies are now the most powerful pro-tobacco influence on teens. If Hollywood is promoting tobacco for money, they are corrupt; if they are giving away hundreds of millions of dollars in free promotion, they are stupid.” The teens did a fantastic job with skits, songs and dance to get the information out. The speakers and presenters made the youth aware of the facts revealed through the movie initiative. There were over 500 youth that attended from the Troy Region. The teens had a fantastic time and hope this might become an annual event to reveal the results of the state initiatives. -Submitted by Hamilton County LIGHTS, CAMERA, Reality Check takes ACTION! Putnam and Westchester - In the New Rochelle region, we split up to plan and carry out our events. Putnam and Westchester counties joined together to plan their event at the Paramount Center for the Arts. This location fit our theme very well. The Paramount is a historic movie theater, which has the feeling of something special and meaningful. Ever see the movie “The Majestic” starring Jim Carry? The Paramount was just like the theater in that movie. We asked Dave Goerlitz to come and make a presentation for our event. If
Hey Zack, is that Julia Roberts and J-Lo?! No, just some of the Troy Region’s celebrity lookalikes!
you don't know, Dave Goerlitz starred as the Winston Man, and also doubled for Richard Dean Anderson during his “MacGuyver” days. He now speaks out about tobacco and his former employers RJ Reynolds. He gave a humorous presentation on how tobacco companies manipulate people and try to get them to smoke. Also in our event, we had youth dressed as Hollywood stars presenting and accepting different awards. For the negative awards, such as “The Actor Who Smoked Up the Screen the Most” we gave out Phlemmies. For the positive awards, such as “Best Anti-Tobacco Film” we gave out Reality Check silver movie reel awards. We also had several performances throughout the evening. Our first act was a singer for our county dressed as Marilyn Monroe singing, “Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend.” Our second performance was a Christina Aguelera lip-sync, done by a boy named Dan Onzo. Yes, a boy. He, along with the hosts, served as the comedic relief for the night. Our final performance was the Westchester Youth Bureau Choir. By the end of the night, we had Inside this issue: spread the Reality Check message and RC goes Hollywood ! 1-3 the initiative Questions from Web 3-4 message to many youth across Smoking in Movies 4-5 Westchester and Smokefree countdown 5 Putnam counties. -Submitted by RC Trainings 6 Mike Faba, Putnam Web Update 7 County
Volume 1, Issue 3 Buffalo Region - On April 6, 2003, Reality Check (RC) youth and County Coordinators (CCS) surrounding the Buffalo area (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, & Wyoming counties) hosted their statewide youth initiative, action project Tobacco and Hollywood Headed Toward a Breakup culminating event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo. Over 400 youth were in attendance for this event, which included a sit down dinner buffet. It was titled the “Fame and Shame Awards”, RC “mock” version of Hollywood's Oscars Night. Award recipients either received a “Fame Award” for positively contributing towards tobacco control efforts in Western New York or a “Shame Award” for doing the tobacco industry’s dirty work. Two popular local bands provided the live entertainment; WILD 101 Radio Station and WSRR Internet Radio Station did a live remote broadcast throughout the event. A few days following the ceremony, Erie County Executive Joel Giambra presented RC with a Proclamation officially declaring April 6, 2003 as “Reality Check Day.” -Submitted by Stan Martin, Buffalo Region RC New York Region - Reality Check youth emcee’s Christina Knorr, Casey Ebeling, Emilio Blasse, Mitsy Blot and Candierrick Narcisse were joined by MTV celebrities Rachel Robinson and Colin Mortensen as well as renown tobacco activist, Dr. Stan Glantz and over 500 of their closest friends at the 2003 Fame and Shame Awards held at Madison Square Garden, May 23, 2003. “It’s time for Hollywood to stop doing Big Tobacco’s dirty work by promoting tobacco use in films that teens watch,” says Reality Check youth Stacey Lae. “We hope that last night's Awards and our efforts during the “Tobacco & Hollywood” project sent a message to Hollywood that New York teens are on to them.” Youth used the glitz and
Delaware County Coordinator Chris Hodges and her buddy Tom Cruise.
Page 2 “Smoking in the movies does not reflect reality; it reinforces the tobacco industry's marketing messages that cigarettes are a way to be sexy, to rebel, to deal with stress,” says Glantz. “For example, Chicago, a great movie, is one long cigarette advertisement.” “This is exactly the kind of information we want to tell our friends about. It’s really important for people to know what's going on and to learn more about the issue,” says Lae. -Submitted by Mitch A. Jameson, Metro Region Northern Rochester Region - On May 4th, 2003, Reality Check (RC) youth from Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties rolled up in buses and stretch limos to the Harro East Ballroom in downtown Rochester and held a mock Oscars event to showcase their work in the statewide initiative, Tobacco and Hollywood: Headed Toward a Breakup. The main purpose of The Reality Check Reel Deal Awards, as it was entitled, was to educate youth, adults and the surrounding communities through various media outlets, on the unrealistic high rate of tobacco use in film today, and its adverse affects on youth. Malik from MTV fame helped RC youth emcee the show. Awards were presented to the actors and producers (RC youth dressed as such) for a variety of stances on tobacco, which included highest rate of tobacco use in a single film, best tobacco free
glamour of a typical Oscar ceremony to denounce some of Hollywood’s biggest winners and losers when it comes to smoking on screen. Youth were treated to a walk down the red carpet, a wonderful dinner, and entertainment from RC member groups including choirs, theater groups, and dance troupes. Even New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Antonia Novello got into it as she boogied down on stage to La Noche and told the youth to keep fighting the good fight. There was a post party that included music, dancing and action pieces highlighting international exploitation of tobacco companies and the clean indoor air movement. While this awards show, like the real Oscars ran over, all the youth involved enjoyed the glitz and glamour that red carpet affairs are all about. “We even had the media show up at our event,” said city youth Mitch Jameson, “usually there’s a blizzard, commuter tax announcement or war stealing our press.” Mitch continues, “Finally one of our event’s got airtime and got our smoking in the movies message out there.”
Volume 1, Issue 3
Page 3 http://www.realitycheckny.com
actor, most product placement, and many more. Entertainment included youth step teams, rap artists, rock bands, to name a few, and all 350 youth in attendance were treated to dinner, dancing, henna tattoos and pictures with Malik. All youth also left with goodie bags filled with special Reality Check favors to commemorate the ceremony. Media coverage included four television stations, and three area newspapers. -Submitted by Rochester Region Schuyler, Chemung, Steuben - On April 17, 2003, Reality Check from Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben counties hosted their celebration event from the statewide initiative, Tobacco and Hollywood: Headed Toward a Break Up. Reality Night at the Roscars was held in the Powers Theatre at the Clemens Center Performing Arts Center in Elmira, N.Y. Local youth from core groups of Reality Check hosted a mock oscars award show to highlight the prevalence of tobacco usage in movies, and to educate both their peers and the public about the importance of Hollywood rating movies with scene smoking “R.” Reality Check Fame and Shame Awards were given out during this mock oscar awards show. Youth also held a press conference prior to the show to announce results from the statewide youth action project to the media. Entertainment during the show was provided by local youth along with a local dance troupe. Youth in attendance of the mock Oscars were invited to a VIP after party at the COACH USA Center for a black light video dance party, ice-skating and food. -Submitted by Mel Schroeder, Schuyler CC
questions from the web…
As you all know we do have a Web site that allows for people to share their thoughts and opinions. As we have found, people from all over the country have taken a look at our site. Below are just a couple of examples of thoughts, opinions, and questions we have received. Two of our executive board members were kind enough to respond. FEEDBACK: After seeing one of your ads
at the Shopping Town mall in DeWitt, I decided to check out your Web site. It's really annoying. If it weren't for the fact that I was looking for some very specific information that I figured was buried in there somewhere, I would not have sat through all the poorly executed Flash stuff. Someone who just wants to get in, get information, and get out, is going to go stark raving mad at your site. Could you maybe give people the option of a Flash and a non-Flash version? Thanks. Now, what I'm *really* here to write about it the premise of that ad at Shopping Town - that movies are glamorizing smoking and doing the tobacco industry's dirty work by featuring characters that do. Frankly, I don't think so. There are people in real life who smoke. There are *teens* in real life who smoke. If a movie acknowledges the fact that some teens smoke, and features a few who do, is that glamorizing smoking and doing tobacco's "dirty work," or is that just presenting reality as it is? Do you really want movies to present a whitewashed version where no one smokes, or at least, where to those who are either evil or unhealthy. Hey. Some people smoke. Movies should be honest about it. That's the way I see it.
something that is cool, something that everyone does, something that is consequence-free. This is certainly not the case. Reality Check, as a movement, is not anti-smoker. Our primary goal is to de-normalize and de-glamorize tobacco use, especially among teens. Movies do the opposite. That is the basis of our advertising campaign, and our recent initiative to target smoking in movies. Feel free to write back with any further questions or responses. Thanks for your input! -Michael Faba Reality Check, Putnam County Thanks for your feedback. It is a common misconception that smoking in movies mirrors real life. The tobacco industry wants you (and all teens) to believe this because it makes it look like (without being excessively cliché) "everyone's doin' it". In reality, smoking as it is portrayed in movies is completely off from real life. I could list all the stats for you, but they're just numbers. If you want the numbers, I'll gladly look them up for you, but the reality is that the percentage of characters smoking in movies (especially in middle and upper class characters) is way higher than the percentages of people who fit those socioeconomic classes in real life. The only class where smoking is not portrayed as being as prevalent in movies as it is in real life is among the lowest class. Hollywood is doing tobacco's dirty work because they are allowing the tobacco industry to use product placement advertising – arguably the most effective form of advertising because the viewer does not realize they are being advertised to. When a character smokes in a movie, it is an advertisement for the tobacco industry and probably an advertisement that the
You are totally correct. Some people do smoke. Some teens do smoke. But the fact is, more people smoke in movies than in real life. By more then double, as a matter of fact. Directors use the cigarette as a prop, a prop that signifies an actor as rebellious, sly, and cool, among other things - we do know smoking is far from any of that. Also, tobacco companies advertise in movies. This has been illegal since the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. Movies portray smoking as something it's not,
Volume 1, Issue 3 tobacco industry has paid big bucks for. The fact is, Hollywood does allow the tobacco industry to attempt to glamorize and normalize smoking. Yes, there are people in real life who smoke, and teens in real life that smoke, but there aren't as many as the film industry would lead you to believe. I agree that Hollywood has every right to "just present reality as it is" and "be honest about it", but unfortunately it is not doing that right now. -Kelly Beers Reality Check, Monroe County FEEDBACK: I’m Jenna. I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. About all of your ads, I have to say something. No matter how hard you and your company try to get people to stop smoking from making ads in magazines and commercials, is not going to stop people from smoking. The people that choose to smoke know the consequences of cancer before they put the cigarette to their lips. Teenagers are like curious teens who experiment stuff and even if you take out smoking in movies, that isn’t going to stop teenagers from smoking or doing drugs. I hope you write back. Bye -Kisses and Smooches! Love, Jen Hi Jenna, Thanks for your feedback. You bring up some very good points, and some very common misconceptions. First of all, Reality Check is about exposing the way that the tobacco industry uses advertising to manipulate teens. We're a group of teens who understand that teens are curious and like to experiment. But we also understand that the tobacco industry is a powerful group of adults who want to use us for the money we can give them. We want to educate our peers so that they don't make the horrible mistake of falling victim to the manipulative advertising of the tobacco industry. Also, regarding your concern about tobacco use in the film industry, smoking in movies is one of the biggest ways the tobacco
industry advertises. Although people do not automatically recognize product placement (like when characters are smoking in movies) as advertising, it really is. It is an extremely successful form of advertising because the people being targeted do not realize what it is. Smoking is placed in movies in order to glamorize and normalize it. In reality, the percent of characters smoking in movies is much higher than the percent of people who smoke in real life. I hope that this is the kind of response you are looking for. I can guarantee you that I completely understand teenagers, because I am one. I'm a 17 year old from NY who just wants to protect my peers from falling victim to one of the sneakiest and most corrupt industries in the world, the tobacco industry. Feel free to write back if you have any more questions! -Kelly Beers Reality Check, Monroe County
SMOKING IN MOVIES INFLUENCES TEENAGERS TO START SMOKING
Our Hollywood initiative has helped to spark much conversation and controversy throughout the country. Throughout our initiative New York was fortunate to have Dr. Stanton Glantz as an expert in the field and an advisor on how to pursue our project. Since our initiative has ended, we have seen articles, advertisements, and now a study supporting the fact that smoking in movies increases the likelihood that teens will smoke. The following is a synopsis of this study and what our expert, Dr. Glantz thinks about this study. Stan says: This is the most important study on smoking in the movies ever published. It provides compelling data, based on a longitudinal study (the strongest kind of epidemiological study), that smoking in the movies stimulates kids to smoke. The paper shows that the movies are a stronger influence than cigarette advertising. Research published on THE LANCET'S Web site (www.thelancet.com) highlights how cigarette smoking in movies could be a trigger for teenagers to take up the habit. An accompanying commentary is calling for movies that contain smoking to be given an adult rating. In 1999, Madeline Dalton and colleagues from Dartmouth Medical School, USA, surveyed adolescents (aged 10 to 14 years) about smoking and movie watching. Adolescent exposure to smoking in movies was estimated for individual respondents on the basis of the number of smoking occurrences viewed in unique samples of 50 movies, which were randomly selected from a larger pool of popular contemporary movies. From this survey, they identified 3500 adolescents who had never tried smoking. They did a follow-up survey with three quarters of the sample one to two years later to determine if they had tried smoking. 10% of adolescents had tried smoking during the follow-up period. Smoking initiation increased with greater exposure to smoking in movies. 17% of the teenagers in the highest category (top 25%) for exposure to smoking in movies had tried smoking compared with only 3% among those in the lowest category (bottom 25%) for movie-smoking exposure. After adjustment for other factors that could have influenced smoking initiation (including smoking among peers and parents), the investigators calculated that teenagers who viewed the greatest amount of smoking in movies were almost three times more likely to start smoking compared to those with low movie-smoking exposure. Madeline Dalton comments: "Our results provide strong evidence that viewing smoking in movies promotes
Page 5 Volume 1, Issue 3 smoking initiation among adolescents. In this population, half of smoking initiation can be attributed to exposure to smoking in movies." In an accompanying Commentary, Stanton Glantz from the University of California at “…In this San Francisco, USA, concludes: The tobacco-control movement has spent many years and population, half millions of dollars attempting to reduce youth smoking by working to implement policies that of smoking restrict youth access to cigarettes with no effect on youth-smoking prevalence. By contrast, the initiation can be work by Dalton and colleagues, together with the earlier research in this area, strongly indicates that pushing for policy changes to reduce youth exposure to smoking in movies will have a rapid attributed to and substantial effect on youth smoking and the subsequent disease and death smoking causes. It exposure to is time for health advocates worldwide to join with WHO, the American Medical Association, smoking in the American Legacy Foundation, and the Los Angeles Department of Health in insisting that movies…" the authorities who rate movies give movies that depict smoking an adult content or R rating. Every day of delay means more unnecessary addiction and death because of Hollywood's love affair with the tobacco industry. -Submitted by Suzanne Kuon, Central Office
Reality Check Celebrates Countdown to Smokefree New York!
On Wednesday, May 28 from 6-8 p.m., five smokefree restaurants on Phila St. in downtown Saratoga Springs celebrated NY’s amended Clean Indoor Air Act with give-away items promoting “I Love Smokefree NY.” The Sushi Thai Garden, Ravenous, Bailey’s Café, Four Seasons, and Ben & Jerry’s are successful smokefree venues that participated. In addition to the food venues, the public was invited to enjoy free rides on the Carousel in Congress Park from 6-9 p.m. Information on the amended Clean Indoor Air Act was available at all locations. This countdown to smokefree New York event was sponsored by the Reality Check programs for Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties, the Glens Falls Hospital Cessation and Education Services and the Adirondack Tobacco Free Network. At the event Reality Check teens handed out I Love Smokefree New York palm cards, shirts and buttons to teens and adults with information regarding the upcoming law. Reality Check teens were stationed outside of all the restaurants with displays while handing out gear and answering questions. Jessica Hanley from Saratoga county told reporters that, “it will be nice for teens to be able to get a job and not worry about smelling like smoke, or even worse the effects that secondhand smoke could have on us later”. On July 24, 2003 the New York State Clean Indoor Air Act will be expanded to ensure that all workers have a safe work place and that all nonsmokers, including children and senior citizens, can breathe smokefree air in the public places they visit. Celebrate Smokefree Phila! was the first of many events for the Troy region that will educate the public and raise awareness and expectations for the law to be carried out. -Submitted by Greg Stevens, Saratoga CC
The Reality Check youth, county coordinators, and staff would like to offer our deepest appreciation and congratulations to this year’s graduating seniors. Thanks for all of your hard work toward making RC a success. We are all very proud of what you have done so far and we wish you the best in the future!
Way To Go CLASS of 2003!
Volume 1, Issue 3
reality check trainings
Otsego County - Reality Check Teens share their message with New Hampshire youth Reality Check teens Beth Krom and Jessica Shutters presented several hour-long workshops at New Hampshire’s Youth Network Opposing Tobacco (YNOT) tobacco control summit in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on May 17th. Nearly one hundred New Hampshire Middle School students attended the summit, which offered participants the opportunity to explore the dangers of tobacco use and the deceptive practices of the tobacco industry. Beth and Jessica presented an overview of Reality Check’s activities and accomplishments in New York state, and facilitated several rounds of the interactive Tobacco Jeopardy game. The workshops concluded with a gear swap and challenge to New Hampshire youth to expose Big Tobacco in their state. At the request of New Hampshire teens, several informal brainstorming sessions were held following the workshops, so teens could swap ideas on how to educate their peers and expose the truth about tobacco’s marketing practices. -Submitted by Nancy Dulkis, Otsego CC
Hamilton, Fulton, Montgomery Choices Conference at Fulton Montgomery Community College A Reality Check presentation was conducted by teens from Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties at the Choices Conference on January 8, 2003. They presented three 35-minute workshops. In attendance at the conference were teens from all three counties. The teens from Hamilton county presented street marketing tactics that they learned from the state training. Fulton county presented activist camp and Montgomery county spoke about the importance of branding a movement. During lunch the Tobacco 101 game was played where youth were given the opportunity to sign up for Reality Check and receive gear. -Submitted by Hamilton County
Fulton County - Youth Present at the Florida SWAT Summit in June Reality Check goes to Hollywood. No, not really Hollywood, but to Tampa, Florida (FL) as guest presenters at the SWAT Summit 6. SWAT is Florida's Youth Anti-Tobacco Movement. This is the same youth movement that spawned off the very successful media campaign known as, 'TRUTH'. SWAT Summit 6 was a 4-day venture with 500 people in attendance. The youth from FL were very excited to have New York (NY) 'in the house' and were never shy about asking us all kinds of questions. Presenters from Oklahoma SWAT, NJ Rebel and Canada's HCAT programs were also there to talk about their state movements and programs. None got a better ovation though, than New York, as we talked about our WILDLY SUCCESSFUL MOVIE INITIATIVE! Teens from FL were cheering and hooting as Kelly and Marie spoke. But following the NY presentation, those SWAT teens began thinking about how they too, could copy the successes of New York. Adult coordinators, teens and even the out of state guests were looking to get their hands on our Hollywood manual. Reality Check gear was given out to the youth and WOW, were those kids clamoring for it. We definitely left a GREAT impression with them. Along with the presentation, Reality Check was in the Florida media spotlight as well. The Tampa Tribune interviewed Kelly and two other youth from the visiting states/countries and Marie and Kelly were interviewed for the SWAT Summit newspaper. Our coordinator Denise also presented the Hollywood initiative to the adults of the summit, and again, without a doubt, people wanted to know more. Also, MANY people referred to our own Alison Rhodes-Devey, which made the three of us very, very proud. Everyone who mentioned her name spoke of her in a glowing manner. Alison, without even knowing it, has enhanced the Reality Check Movement throughout this COUNTRY!! We told those people that they CAN NOT HAVE HER, and besides, we love her way too much to let her go anywhere. Way to Go ALISON!! Much was shared and much was learned from this excellent experience. Reality Check left a great and lasting impression on many hundreds of people in three states and two countries. -Submitted by Denise Benton (CC), Kelly Bunt and Marie Kovalovich, Fulton County
Volume 1, Issue 3
Page 7 general information about big tobacco and tobacco, the RC Newsletter, and other information as it is developed. During the past 10 months the Web site has had an average of 238 hits/day. The highest number of hits for any one-day was August 29, 2002, the day after we launched the site, and the TV campaign that first aired during the MTV Video Awards. The total hits that day were 6,455. Almost 500 youth from across New York state and even from across the country have signed up for more information. Youth from Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oakland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Washington have signed up on our site for more information. Most heard about Reality Check from a friend or a magazine advertisement. The majority of youth from New York state who signed up on the site heard about Reality Check from a friend or a local event, thanks to all your hard work! The future of www.realitycheckny.com is up to the next youth board and Reality Check members from across the state. If you have any questions or ideas, please feel free to contact Lisa Kelly in central office at email@example.com. -Submitted by Lisa Kelly, Central Office
The Reality Check Web site committees of 2001-2002 and 20022003 worked hard with central office staff to develop a Web site that would be interactive and informative about Reality Check. Members of the 20012002 committee assisted in the development of the look and content of the site. The members of the 20022003 committee expressed several concerns about the current site, including how Flash takes a long time to load, how the site is set up, the need for more interactiveness and the need for more information. Central office and the Web site committee have worked with Korey Kay and Partners (Reality Check's media company) to address these concerns over the past nine months and by the end of July, there will be two versions of www.realitycheckny.com on the Web, a non-flash version and a flash version. Also on the site will be an expanded Hollywood section, Reality Check's own version of EZ Letters, a monthly teen poll, a newsroom that will include other Web site links,
Reflecting on 2002-2003 . . .
It's been a great year! We have grown leaps and bounds and as always have learned through trial and error how to accomplish our goals. Kudos to Alison Rhodes-Devey - she has great energy and passion, we are a better movement because of her. Also, Reality Check would not be where it is today without the "BOD Squad". THANK YOU!! County representatives and executive board, you have put a lot of time and energy into making this year a success and it has paid off. The "adults" of Reality Check look forward to a great summer and wish you all the best!!
Newsletter ideas ?
Please send us your submissions or suggestions for the next issue:
Articles Photos – please include a caption Letters, poetry or artwork Ideas or requests Questions, concerns, comments
Let us know! Please send all submissions via e-mail (preferred), fax, or snail mail to Suzanne at central office: SNAIL MAIL: Suzanne Kuon New York State Department of Health Empire State Plaza, 710 Corning Tower Albany, NY 12237-0676 E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org FAX: (518)486-1684
Submissions for next issue due Thurs, October 9th !!