Vermont Department of Health Launches Campaign & Group Quit Contest to Encourage Young Adults to Quit Smoking

For Immediate Release: April 19, 2004

Contact: Moira Cook
Tobacco Control Chief
Vermont Department of Health

BURLINGTON, VT - The smoking rate among Vermont adults overall dropped to 19.5 percent in 2003. But smoking among one portion of that group, young adults age 18 to 24, is much higher - a whopping 30 percent. The tobacco industry aggressively targets young adults because they want to attract people to their brands at as young an age as is legally possible.

The Vermont Department of Health is fighting back with a new campaign launching on April 19, 2004. The campaign will feature a Group Quit Contest, and radio and print materials that focus on some of the shorter-term health effects of smoking: premature wrinkles and impotence.

Smoking is a leading cause of impotence, and can begin by age 30, with an increase in risk for each year of continued smoking.

“We talked to young smokers and found that the shorter term health effects of smoking, like premature wrinkles and impotence, were more likely to motivate them to quit than what they consider to be ‘old age’ diseases like lung cancer and heart disease,” said Commissioner of Health Paul Jarris, MD.

Campaign messages prompt young adults to quit now, and the contest provides an added incentive. Those who form Group Quit teams will be sent a Quit Pack that includes self-help materials for young adults (with things like gum and cinnamon toothpicks). Teams will also get a deck of playing cards imprinted with quit tips and specifics on the benefits of quitting. Contestants will be asked to “ante up” half of what they would have spent on cigarettes into a “team pot,” and the Health Department will match the amount up to $1,000 if their team gets picked in the random drawing. For teams that don’t get picked, they will have still saved a bundle to do something fun together as their own reward.

“Young adults are very linked into their social group, and often when one tries to quit solo, he or she starts back smoking when a friend lights up,” said Moira Cook, Tobacco Control Chief for the Vermont Department of Health. “If a group commits to quitting together, they’ll have a better chance of succeeding.”

Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who want to sign up for the Group Quit Contest can call the Vermont Quit Line toll-free at 1-877-YES-QUIT (or 1-877-937-7848).

Facts About Smoking and Impotence

Approximately 10 million men in the United States are impotent.1 Smoking is one ofthe leading causes of impotence, along with high blood pressure and diabetes. 2 Recent studies have shown that smokers are 1.5 times more likely to have impotence problems than non-smokers.3

How it works.

What are the risks?

What to do?

Quit smoking now. The good news is that impotence caused by smoking is reversible and after quitting, the risk of becoming impotent falls over time.12


  1. Impotence. NIH Consensus Statement Online. 1992 December 7-9 [cited March 18, 2004 ]; 10(4): 1-31.
  2. NOVA Online, Transcripts, The Truth About Impotence. Cited March 18, 2004
  3. British Medical Association (2004) Smoking and Reproductive Life: The impact of Smoking on Sexual Reproductive and Child Health . Retrieved on March 17, 2004 from p. 5.
  4. Ibid. p. 7
  5. Ibid. p. 7
  6. Ibid. p. 7
  7. Dongfeng, GU, M.D. et al. (2003, March 7) Cigarettes send sex life up in smoke . American Heart Association, Journal Report on the InterASIA study . Retrieved on March 17, 2004 from
  8. Ibid.
  9. British Medical Association (2004) Smoking and Reproductive Life: The impact of Smoking on Sexual Reproductive and Child Health . p. 6.
  10. Feldman, HA et al. (2000) Erectile Dysfunction and Coronary Risk Factors: Prospective Results from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. Preventative Medicine 30: 328-38.
  11. Jeuneman, K. (1987) The Effects of Smoking on Penile Erection. Journal of Urology 138: 438-441.
  12. British Medical Association (2004) Smoking and Reproductive Life: The impact of Smoking on Sexual Reproductive and Child Health . p. 7.