The U.S. Surgeon General invited 13-to-25-year-olds to make videos warning their peers off smokes. We review the winning entries.
In March CDC announced the Surgeon General's "Tobacco — I'm Not Buying It" contest, which they say "challenged youth and young adults to speak up about preventing tobacco use." It's the sort of thing government health bureaucrats like to do now and then to show responsiveness to the vox populi.
Grand, First, Second, and Third Runner-Up Prizes were announced in two categories: Age 13-17, and Age 18-25. A Spanish language winner was also announced.
Herewith our reviews of the laureates:
Grand -- "Tobacco I'm Not Buying It Rap." "I don't buy it cause it damages your brain cells/It causes heart disease your heart can fail... Tobacco industry tryin' to influence me/Everywhere I look tobacco products be enticing me... " Well, at least they didn't use autotune, and with a little better flow the gruff-voiced leader could develop into another Keak Da Sneak.
First -- "We Deserve a Chance to Live Out Our Dreams!" Little girl's mommy smokes, so little girl grows up to smoke. Mom (or maybe the little girl when grown) winds up in the hospital.
Second -- "It’s Just Not Worth It." Michael, 16, pulls up his hoodie and mutters about the smokers in his high school, who experience "wheezing" and "shortness of breath."
Third -- "Duplin TRU Team." "What if you woke up one day and your best friend was gone?" You guessed it. He was 17, and died of... well, they don't tell us; probably not emphysema, so maybe he got hit by a bus. Anyway, don't smoke.
Grand -- "You Don’t Smoke Cigarettes, Cigarettes Smoke You." An animated cigarette repeats some health statistics, then pulls a human being out of a pack, sticks him in his mouth, and lights his head. If the animation were better it'd be pretty disturbing.
First -- "Not Quite So Different." A couple of girls sit in chairs. One of them is a writer, the other is a dancer. They talk about things they like, and -- hey, where are you going? Anyway they both smoke and they're both going to die.
Second -- "Smokers Don’t Understand." Two guy going to a party; one is very excited -- the other isn't because, he reveals, he's "in the beginning stages of lung cancer." Punchline: He doesn't smoke -- but his friend does! Moral: If you hang out with smokers you will die and they will be insensitive about it.
Third -- "Impact of Tobacco — Don’t Be Fooled." Some girls look at some disgusting Facebook page about smoking through a hole in your throat. Then, a montage of horrible smoking-related disfigurements.
Spanish -- "El Tabaco y la industria." We don't speak Spanish, but this is mostly people holding up signs while someone talks over them, which is always effective.