Everybody knows that tobacco use causes a variety of potentially deadly
diseases. Smoking also causes the yellowing of teeth and bad breath, as
well as lingering odors on clothing and in hair.
So why is it that ...
- Nearly 50 million
Americans smoke - including one in five teenagers
- Each day more
than 3,000 youth begin to smoke
- 89% of adult
smokers smoked their first cigarette before the age of 18
Published research studies by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association
and the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention have found that
youth are three times more sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults
and are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than
by peer pressure.
This project is designed to show youth how they are being manipulated through
the power of art, design and advertising to purchase and use tobacco products.
For this project, Center for Folk and Community Art artists, Dena Stewart and Stewart
Stewart, are facilitating their "Telling Stories Through Visuals"
writing and art workshops with upper-elementary, middle and high school
students. At these workshops, the youth are deconstructing tobacco ads;
identifying how the use of tobacco products affects their lives; writing
about personal experiences with, and feelings about, the use of tobacco
products; illustrating their stories and incorporating their own anti-tobacco
use message within the picture; and analyzing how artistic ad campaigns
and celebrity spokespeople influence their thinking and actions.
The on-going and ever-growing Mural, a montage of the stories and artwork created at
the workshops, is used as a tool of education to enlighten others about
the health risks of tobacco use.
The "Art of Manipulation - Tobacco Awareness" Mural is making its debut at
the Stephen P. Clark Government center in Miami, Florida on September
7-17, 1999. The Mural will continue its exhibition tour throughout the
1999-2000 year and beyond at appropriate anti-tobacco events, in libraries,
museums, schools and other public venues. Workshops will also continue
during this time, with the Mural (currently 42 feet) continuing to grow
To bring this project to your community of for additional information, please contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"TOBACCO AWARENESS "
© 1999 Dena Stewart
At age thirteen, two friends and I
cut class and took a bus
to someone else's neighborhood,
where no one would know us.
We bought a pack of cigarettes,
thirty cents at that time;
There were no age restrictions then.
We each chipped in a dime.
The first puff didn't taste so good.
The second made us dizzy.
With twenty cigarettes to smoke,
our afternoon was busy.
The smoking made our throats sore.
We felt nauseous and turned pale.
But thinking we looked grown-up,
we learned how to inhale.
The U.S. Surgeon General said tobacco can cause stroke,
cancer, heart and lung disease;
These warnings seemed a joke.
Twenty-five years later,
I felt physically unfit.
My doctor said it's 'cause I smoke.
I vowed that I would quit.
I tried to stop, then soon discovered
that I was addicted.
But Big Tobacco said "no way."
The news was quite conflicted.
Nicotine, in large amounts,
was added to the leaf
to keep more people smoking.
A truth beyond belief.
Many lawsuits later
it was finally revealed
that Big Tobacco tampered,
but kept the facts concealed.
Their goal was to hook youngsters
to start smoking in their teens.
They lured the youth through ads
well placed on signs; in magazines.
Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man,
the epitome of "Cool"
were heroes to both young and old -
all taken for the "Fool."
3,000 youth begin to smoke, each day,
in spite of knowledge.
And smart adults keep smoking,
those with high degrees from College.
Cigarettes have poisons
that cause illness and cruel death;
and even on a lighter note,
they stain teeth and cause bad breath.
That smoking causes impotence
doesn't lessen the allure.
So what will stop Tobacco
from winning in this war?
"My family and all my friends realize that they
shouldn't smoke, especially my friends. I never see my family or my friends
smoke, and I don't know if they do. Maybe they hide and smoke. I tell
myself that it's none of my business. I see a lot of people smoking, especially
older people. These people who smoke know that it can affect them. It
makes me feel sick when people smoke near me. I have to turn and walk
away while they are talking, if they are smoking."
Evens P., age 18
"My friend started to smoke at age 9, and then
he stopped and started again at age 14. He started to smoke to get attention,
but he also became addicted to smoking. This affected me because I wanted
to be part of his little group, but I had to be brave. I was thinking
about starting to smoke but I realized that it wasn't worth it because
it can damage my health. There are other ways to get attention."
Anthony, age 15
"I experimented with all kinds of drugs, then
my friends offered me a cigarette. I knew it was bad, but then again,
what isn't? So me, the "bad ass" smoked my first cigarette! I did not
like the taste, but it amplified the feeling of the drugs I was doing.
But now that I quit all the drugs I used to do, I still smoke cigarettes
- because they are easy to get, they are not illegal, and I can't stop."
Justin, age 19
"I have never smoked in my life. When I was a
little kid, my father smoked cigarettes. My mom has never smoked. She
always told me that smoking was bad for me, if I ever did it. My father
stopped smoking because he started to find that it was bad for him. After
he stopped smoking, he's been saying to me that smoking is bad. I believe
him because he's had experience with it. Some of my friends smoke but
I don't get the temptation. Also, my grandfather died of lung cancer and
that's another reason why I don't and never will smoke."
Jose D., age 17