Extinguish The Fire

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By Vanessa Tang

 #WeCanDoIt. We can be the generation that puts out the last cigarette. It is possible, it will just take work. There’s a new campaign created to stop teen smoking. Truth, a smoking prevention organization, runs the Finish It Campaign. Their commercials inform people about the fact that, “only 9% of teens smoke… we’re super close to ending teen smoking for good.” Truth really does believe they can end smoking, and the American Legacy Foundation funds them. They’ve been using the money to give teens ideas about how they can make a difference in this campaign, and how we can’t allow Big Tobacco (the tobacco industry) to grow any larger.

A few trends were created in attempt to raise awareness against smoking and tobacco producers. Truth’s website states their successes. They’ve accumulated about 141,800 members and a total of about two million followers on all of their social media accounts. Truth initiated a trend to put an orange X on Facebook profile pictures to display their support for the campaign. Another was to take pictures from the internet and cover the cigarette and just plaster the photo with digital stickers. People then post them online to exhibit that smoking isn’t cool. Not only has Truth encouraged this, but they have also paid for online and television commercials to acquire even more viewers.

The commercials reach a wide audience, but are mainly advertised on TV shows teens may watch, such as Teen Nick, to motivate them to help raise awareness. “Revolusion”, the Swedish song that plays in the background catches viewers’ attention. Facts and statistics roll out and Truth presents itself. A few things prevent the end of smoking.

Because Society tends to idolize and mimic celebrities, they are a huge factor when it comes to smoking. “If celebrities stop indirectly glamorizing smoking as a cool thing to do, literally millions of smokers may become motivated to extinguish their last cigarette,” claims Craig Nabat, creator of the Freedom Quit Smoking System. Big Tobacco uses celebrities who smoke, indirectly, as walking billboards to influence their fans to smoke, or at least make them think smoking is admirable. On the other hand, these celebrities can be used for the better—to actually influence smokers to quit.

The Finish It campaign works hard to stop teens from thinking that smoking is a cool and rebellious thing. Teens are already scientifically proven to be easily influenced, and their defiant nature makes it even worse when it comes to smoking. The tobacco industry generates the idea that smoking is a way to rebel, or even something desirable. Craig Nabat also claimed that 50% of teenagers smoke because their favorite celebrity does. Truth works to prevent this.

Many viewers of these commercials have made comments about this campaign and its effectiveness. Readers have proclaimed that Truth provides free publicity, and that they’re forcing beliefs on teenagers. Others argue that Truth rubs people the wrong way about the issue because of their constant attempts and persuasion to have the public join the campaign. Aside from very few negative comments, many have retorted that the campaign is empowering, convincing and very persuasive.

Smoking causes health problems. Truth already provides us with the cold, hard facts about how close we are to ending teen smoking. We’re so close, but we have a long road ahead of us. They truly believe we can do it; we can end teen smoking for good. If we all just spread awareness, and try our best to eradicate the glamorization of smoking, we may just be the generation that ends teen smoking for good.

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