Montefiore Hudson Valley Collaborative (MVHC) hosted a celebratory event culminating their Vaping Prevention Contest to help teens from the Bronx, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties learn the truth about vaping and raise awareness among their peers, parents and policy makers through creative and compelling Public Service Announcements.
The concept for the project was conceived in a Westchester American Heart Association Board meeting with members of the Community Impact Committee who wanted to focus on tackling vaping awareness to help saves lives.
Out of over 60 print and video PSA submissions, 38 finalists were posted on a Facebook page for the public to “like” their favorites. Awards were presented to six winning PSAs by Patricia Tomassi, Director of the Westchester County Office of Drug Abuse Prevention and STOP DWI, Michael Orth, Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health and Dr. Sherlita Amler, the Westchester Commissioner of Health. Winners included the following:
- 1st Place ($1,500 prize): Isabel Cardoso, Sanders High School, Yonkers
- 2nd Place ($1,000 prize): The Ossining Youth to Youth and Media Clubs
- 3rd Place ($750 prize): Isabel Cardoso, Sanders High School, Yonkers
- 4th Place ($500 prize): Benjin Phillip, Roosevelt High School, Yonkers
- Directors Choice Award ($500 prize): Andrew Theiss, Andrew Manson, Dylan Beers, Evan Beers, Jordan Bari and Zachary Cruz, Monroe Woodbury High School, Central Valley
- Director’s Choice Award ($500 prize): Phillip Rottkamp, Chris Piatek, Eric Adolfsson and Matthew Sanzo, Spackenkill High School, Poughkeepsie
“I am honored to have my work selected to win this competition,” said Isabel Cardoso of Saunders High School, Yonkers, who won the 1st and 3rd place prizes for her two posters. “Vaping prevention is such an important topic and this contest helped us spread the word about the dangers of teen vaping.”
Funded by the MHVC, a group of providers, community based organizations and government officials whose goal is to improve the quality of life of Hudson Valley residents, and administered by Student Assistance Services, Corporation, this PSA contest invited high school teens from the Mid-Hudson to produce messages that highlight one of several themes. Themes included:
- Most teens are NOT vaping
- Refusal Skills (ways to say no if offered to vape)
- How vaping ads target youth
- Costs of vaping (harm to lungs, impact of nicotine on developing brain, harm of flavorings, expense, gum disease, second hand vape effects, batteries exploding
“We know from studies that kids, whose first experience with a tobacco product was an e-cigarette, were more than four times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes than those who had no prior tobacco use,” said Damara Gutnick, MD, medical director of MHVC and Co-Chair of the American Heart Association’s Community Impact Committee in Westchester. “We hope that these creative, teen-created PSA messages are taken to heart as it is imperative that kids don’t start this dangerous addiction.”
For more information about the PSA Contest and to view the finalists, visit: https://.facebook.com/vapingpsacontest/.
Learn more about the health dangers of vaping at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking-tobacco/the-101-on-e-cigarettes-infographic