Animated Characters Tell True-Life Tobacco Stories; Vermont Department of Health Creates New “Tobacco Stories” Web Site

For Immediate Release: August 31, 2005

Contact: Communication Office
802.863.7281

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health is using the latest in animation technology for a new Web site – www.tobaccostories.org – to provide a forum for Vermonters to tell their personal stories about the impact of smoking on their lives. The Web site also serves as a quit-smoking information gateway, providing resources and links to help Vermonters stop smoking.

The stories are powerful and inspiring. Here are just a few:

The stories are from real Vermonters, but the characters sharing them on the Web site are animated using a technology that has been seen on major entertainment networks like ESPN to personalize what otherwise might be flat words on a page. While the characters are telling stories, their eyes follow the on-screen cursor moved by the computer mouse, bringing the stories to life.

“We’re reaching out to all Vermonters who smoke – or who have seen what smoking can do to the lives of those they care about – to ask them to visit tobaccostories.org so they can find the help they need,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Paul Jarris, MD.

Visitors to www.tobaccostories.org can submit their own stories and e-mail a link of the animated stories to their friends. They can also share online their own reasons for quitting smoking and tips that helped them succeed.

At the site, visitors can sign up to be called by a stop-smoking coach from the Vermont Quit Line (1-877-YES-QUIT) or see a list of local quit coaches. Tobaccostories.org also offers links to national Web sites such as QuitNet, Nicotine Anonymous, NoButts and others as well as to local youth-oriented Vermont Web sites such as Our Voices Xposed (OVX.org) and 8outof10.com.

Approximately 92,500 adult Vermonters smoke, and an estimated 800 die annually from smoking-related diseases (including heart disease and cancer). Vermonters who want to learn more about the resources available to help them stop smoking can call the Vermont Quit Line toll-free at 1-877-YES-QUIT (937-7848), visit www.tobaccostories.org or contact the Ready, Set…STOP program at a local hospital.