LONG BRANCH - More than 500 teens from REBEL, the state's youth
anti-tobacco movement, today embarked on a year-long campaign to
reduce environmental tobacco smoke in their communities. Environmental
tobacco smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death and
disability in the nation.
the Air: It's What We Breathe" is the theme of the initiative
begun at the REBEL (Reaching Everyone By Exposing Lies) Statewide
Summit held at the Ocean Place Conference Resort in West Long Branch.
At the summit, teens developed leadership and advocacy skills to
help them become effective community activists in the fight against
environmental tobacco smoke. They also began work on campaign materials
for their schools and communities.
must protect the health of our families and communities, and one
way to do that is to encourage young people not to smoke,"
said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
"Governor James E. McGreevey has proposed a budget that devotes
$30 million to the state's Comprehensive Tobacco Control program,
which includes youth anti-tobacco programs such as REBEL. Reducing
environmental tobacco smoke is a core goal of the tobacco control
it began in November 2000, REBEL has grown from 340 members to more
than 7,000 members from all 21 counties.
opening ceremonies, the teens heard from keynote speaker Dr. Jeffrey
Wigand, who was the subject of the movie The Insider. Dr.
Wigand told the participants that people who start smoking before
age 15 are 10 times more likely to contract cancer than those who
start at age 25. "The tobacco industry puts profits ahead of
public health and safety," Dr. Wigand said.
featured was U.S. Senator Jon S. Corzine, who also met individually
with students. New York Giants linebacker Dhani Jones also spoke,
sharing a personal story about his grandfather, who died of lung
cancer. The Giants running back Tiki Barber spoke to the group via
videotape and commended the teens for their work.
the speakers, the teens moved into break-out sessions, where they
developed concepts and key messages for posters and 30-second video
spots to be used in the "Spare the Air" campaign. The
winners will work with professional designers and producers to fashion
their ideas into finished products. The video will air on Channel
One, an in-school broadcast network that reaches approximately 215,000
New Jersey students.
Summit also recognized the accomplishments of the previous year
in its closing ceremonies, when REBEL high school seniors, Youth
Advisory Board members and Youth Coordinators were presented with
awards to mark outstanding achievements. Selected high school seniors
were awarded scholarship dollars, while Youth Coordinators received
money to fund additional services and events in their respective
tobacco smoke kills more than 50,000 people each year in the United
States. It has all the carcinogens contained in tobacco smoke, and
is associated with low-birth-weight babies, sudden infant death
syndrome, severe respiratory infections, ear infections, asthma,
is just one of many initiatives sponsored by DHSS and funded with
money from the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement (MSA) between
46 states and the tobacco industry. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention recently ranked New Jersey as 11th among the states
in committing a substantial portion of MSA funds for tobacco control
programs. New Jersey's Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program is
designed to reduce the sickness, disability, and death among New
Jerseyans associated with the use of tobacco and exposure to environmental
tobacco smoke. To learn more about REBEL, go to