Local teens win Cortez Cash

Several area teens attended the September 27 screening of Addiction Incorporated, a documentary film about the first tobacco industry whistleblower, Victor deNoble. The film was sponsored by the Target Tobacco Action Group (TTAG), a local tobacco prevention coalition. TTAG encouraged all area middle and high school students to attend, offering cash prizes for the best essays submitted on the topic “How watching this film has changed my understanding of tobacco addiction.”

Screening of the film was a way to encourage the community to understand more about how the tobacco industry is addicting its customers. The free screening was followed by a discussion with Target Tobacco Action Group and community members about tobacco use in Montezuma and Dolores Counties. It offered a chance to brainstorm about solutions which protect kids from this dangerous substance.

According to Julia Hesse, Tobacco Prevention Program Director at the Montezuma County Department of Public Health and TTAG leader, tobacco kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, drugs and fires combined. Ninety percent of all tobacco users become addicted by age 18. It is crucial to do everything possible to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco.

The two winners of the essay contest are Christian Sackett, a sixth grader at Dolores Middle School with a first place award and prize of $100 in Cortez Cash, and Lynda La Paz, a seventh grader at Cortez Middle School with a second place award and a prize of $50 in Cortez Cash. The essays were scored on the basis of material organization; vocabulary and style; grammar, punctuation and spelling; neatness; and adherence to contest rules.

For more information, contact Julia Hesse at the health department at 565-3056, ext. 233.