Young critics to give verdict on anti-smoking ads

Sunday 31 May, 2015

QUIT VICTORIA is pleased to launch its popular The Critics’ Choice program in time for World No Tobacco Day today.

In its 16th year, the program asks students to critique 12 anti-smoking advertisements from around the world and invites them to vote on which is the most effective in stubbing out smoking in young people.

The Critics’ Choice was specifically developed to increase young people’s awareness of the issues and dangers surrounding tobacco use and nicotine addiction. Most adults who smoke first tried cigarettes when they were teenagers.1 That’s why preventing uptake during adolescence is critical to ending the harm caused by cigarettes.

The allure of smoking has faded for teenagers but too many are still sucked in by the deadly habit. In 1984, 24 per cent of Victorian teens reported smoking cigarettes in the previous week – this had dropped to seven per cent by 2011.2

But Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White said there was no room for complacency, with best estimates showing that as many as 4500 secondary school students progress from experimental to regular smoking in Victoria each year.3

She said World No Tobacco Day was a good time to reflect on the importance of measures proven to motivate smokers to quit and prevent young people taking up smoking.

Dr White said The Critic’s Choice could spark great classroom conversations and help young people better understand the devastating impact of smoking, which kills about 4500 Victorians each year.

“Topics such as graphic and gore versus positive reinforcement, what makes people change their behaviour and how do different cultures tackle health issues publicly – Critic’s Choice can generate heated debate while bringing the issues around tobacco to the fore in an entertaining way,’’ she said.

“Educating young people now, combined with other tobacco control measures such as smokefree areas, will discourage them from smoking in the future.

“As an extra incentive, there is also the chance to win $500 sporting equipment or a SunSmart voucher for your school by voting at for the ad students think is most effective.”

More information and a free teacher's resource designed for upper primary and high school students is available at

Contact:  Olivia Kostandinov, Communications Officer, 0433 877 403

For help to quit smoking, contact Quitline on 13 7848


1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2012
2 Cancer Council Victoria’s Behavioural Science Division
3 White V and Bariola E. 3. Tobacco use among Australian secondary students in 2011. Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011. Canberra: Drug Strategy Branch Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, 2012.