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News Release

   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   November 15, 2001

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg/609-984-7160
For Fleishman-Hillard
Lisa Holmes/212-453-2489


Three innovative youth anti-tobacco programs sponsored by the NJ Department of Health & Senior Services come together on the Great American Smokeout

Jersey City -The New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS), together with Liberty Science Center (LSC), unveiled The Unfiltered Truth, three innovative, youth-oriented anti-tobacco programs, before an audience of teachers, state and local dignitaries, and representatives from the state's anti-tobacco groups. DHSS funded the development of these programs with money from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between 46 states and the tobacco industry and timed their introduction to coincide with the Great American Smokeout.

"We are fortunate to have an institution like Liberty Science Center to work together with us in bringing these important messages about tobacco use to our youth," said George T. DiFerdinando, M.D, acting Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services. "Liberty Science Center is unique in its ability to reach New Jersey's school population. LSC reaches not only the thousands of students who pass through the center each day, but also brings traveling programs to children in their own schools. These programs are reaching young people in grades 4-12 at a time when they are most likely to be developing their attitudes about tobacco and making decisions that can affect their health for the rest of their lives."

The three programs include an animated 3-D laser show, Extreme Choices: No Ifs Ands or Butts About It, designed for students in grades 4-12; a traveling theatrical production, Hot Air, developed for grades 4-8; and The Science Behind Tobacco Use, a Web site providing an illuminating look at the science of tobacco. Young people can experience Extreme Choices at Liberty Science Center free of charge on a first come, first served basis; Hot Air will travel to classrooms through the 2001 - 2002 school year; and the Web site can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.

"The Unfiltered Truth reflects our profound commitment to combat youth smoking by breaking through the barriers of conventional educational methods to provide students with information about the dangerous effects of tobacco in an imaginative and creative way," said Emlyn Koster, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Liberty Science Center.

Extreme Choices features a teenager named Mike who gets hooked on a new video game and is faced with making hard choices about tobacco use; he soon learns that he must live with the consequences of his decisions. Hot Air follows Jessica, a middle school track star, her family and friends as they deal with the issues of smoking from a variety of perspectives. The Science Behind Tobacco Use Web site makes chemistry come alive, as viewers take the journey from seed to cigarette, to tobacco's effects on the human body.

Extreme Choices and Hot Air were both written by Michael Hollinger, an award-winning playwright whose earlier credits include Red Herring, Incorruptible, An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf, and Tiny Island, all of which premiered at Philadelphia's Arden Theater Company. These plays have enjoyed over 40 productions around the country and in London.

According to recent surveys conducted by the DHSS, nearly 27.6 percent of high school students and 10.5 percent of middle school students smoked cigarettes in the last month. Informing young people about the dangers of tobacco use is important, since more than 80 percent of adults who smoke had their first cigarette before they turned 18. Among New Jersey smokers, one third will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases.

Dedicated to inspiring imagination and creativity through adventures in interactive discovery, Liberty Science Center is the NJ-NY area's preeminent science education center. Located at Exit 14B off the New Jersey Turnpike in Jersey City, NJ, LSC has welcomed more than 6.5 million guests since opening in 1993. For more information, call 201-200-1000 or visit our Web site at

Liberty Science Center's anti-tobacco programs are part of the youth-based component of DHSS's Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program, which is supported with funds from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between 46 states and the tobacco industry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently ranked New Jersey as 11th among the states in committing a substantial portion of MSA funds for tobacco control programs. New Jersey's Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program is designed to reduce the sickness, disability and death among New Jerseyans associated with the use of tobacco and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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