The most powerful part of the video is the sad story of Sean Marsee, a promising high school track star addicted to chewing tobacco. He died of mouth and jaw cancer at 19. The before-and-after photos are heartbreaking, and make a strong case against tobacco.
The video shows how tobacco ads appeals to youth. KOOL packs from 2005 are shown with drawings of hip hop artists, DJ's and a youth party. Ads for candy flavored Camels are shown, with names like 'Warm Winter Toffee', 'Kuaii Kolada', and 'Winter Mocha Mint'.
In an informal initiation, I explain that thousands of years ago, elders would take youth into the forest or desert and initiate them. They would make their lives uncomfortable for a few days, often depriving them of sleep or food, and putting obstacles in their path.
What the elders were saying, I tell the youth, is that life brings all adults difficulties. "When the hard moments come, sadly some adults turn to alcohol or tobacco, or to drugs, which destroy their lives. Or they use music or food to avoid their pain.
"Face your problems. Talk to your parents, a trusted teacher, your friends, or the school counselor. Connect with another person, and together, solve it. You're now closer to the world of adults. Welcome!"
Teen worry, I'm convinced, is a real factor in youth smoking and drug rates. Studies show that today's teens have significantly more doubts about the future. They see news stories about terrorism, the war in Iraq, new diseases, and uncertainty in our economy.
To address this, I include a section near the end aiming to strengthen their faith in the future. "So what if there are problems along the way? We'll find the solutions. We always have and always will. And beyond those, wondrous times lie ahead. You'll need your health in those incredible years before us, so don't smoke, and don't drink, and don't use drugs. The future will be amazing!"