SOURCE: California Department of Public Health

May 06, 2008 18:16 ET

CDPH Announces the Winners of California's First-Ever Contest for Anti-Smoking TV Commercials

Winning Commercial to Debut During "American Idol"

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - May 6, 2008) - Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, today announced the winners of the "Be a Reel Hero - Create. Direct. Save Lives," a contest that offered Californians the opportunity to create the state's next anti-tobacco television commercials.

"Other Ways to Use a Cigarette," created by Los Angeles resident Jeff Rubin, was selected as the grand prize winner. The grand prize winning commercial will air on "American Idol" in the Los Angeles and Sacramento areas May 6, 2008.

"With this contest, we invited Californians to add their talents to the state's long history of effective anti-tobacco television ads that helped reduce smoking in our state by more than 30 percent," said Horton. "All Californians should be proud of the creativity, commitment and enthusiasm reflected in the Be A Reel Hero entries."

Rubin, who successfully quit smoking four years ago, works in post-production and graphic design. He based "Other Ways to Use a Cigarette" around the idea that smoking a cigarette is like putting another nail in your coffin. Rubin's inventive use of motion graphics highlights the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes and their potential "other" uses, such as paving roads with tar, exterminating rats with arsenic and cleaning toilets with ammonia. The commercial underscores the fact that these same toxic chemicals are being inhaled by smokers with each cigarette they smoke.

Rounding out the top five finalists were:

--  2nd place - "You Do the Math" by Nicolas Duchemin Harvard and Matthew
--  3rd place - "Left Behind" by Leyna J. Weber and Darren Capozzi
--  4th place - "Lonely Cowboy" by Matthew Breault
--  5th place - "Gunfighters" by Scott Betty

"The 'Be a Reel Hero' contest was designed to engage the creative talent and innovation of Californians to help educate the public about the dangerous health effects of smoking," Horton said.

Californians cast more than 10,000 votes online for their favorite entries. The contest also was judged by a panel of four judges: Kimberly Belshé, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency; Sherry Lansing, CEO of the Sherry Lansing Foundation and former head of Paramount Pictures; Colleen Stevens, head of CDPH Tobacco Control Program media initiatives; and Court Crandall, creative director for Ground Zero Advertising.

The California Department of Public Health's Tobacco Control Program is the nation's longest running and most comprehensive anti-tobacco program. California also has the lowest cigarette consumption per capita in the U.S. and serves as a model for other states and countries. California's public health policies are major contributing factors to the state's low smoking rates.

The winning Be A Reel Hero entries, along with other finalists, can be viewed at

For information about how to quit smoking, visit