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Updated Jun 19, 2012 - 8:18 am

Teen smoking on the decline in Arizona

PHOENIX -- According to the Arizona Department of Health, Arizona's teen smoking rate is down by 12 percent in the last couple of years.

Teen smoking rates nationwide have generally stayed the same. Social-media campaigns like the ones from Venomocity and Students Taking a New Direction (STAND) are among the reasons for Arizona's success.

"They are very helpful because they are informative, they are visual, and the kids can see it and imagine they are in the shoes of the youth they see on that video," said Clyde Miller, youth coordinator for Tanner Community Development Corp., a teen support center in Phoenix.

Miller helps teens kick the habit, and said websites and social media are becoming the most powerful weapons in that fight. He said the websites let teens interact with each other and give each other support even if they live miles away.

The websites also benefit peer counselors. Janea Crum, 15, helps organize conferences and presentations to help teens stop smoking, but she said the Internet can be more effective than a face-to-face approach.

"They go on [the websites] on their own time, which signifies that they really want to stop smoking and they really want to get help. It doesn't make it such a public issue," said Crum.

Both Crum and Miller said one of the more effective tools found on the websites are videos of teens who have quit smoking.

Among the more popular sites are standaz.com and venomcity.com

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started here in December 2011. I'm definitely the new kid.

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado.

Education: I got my undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. I then went to graduate school at Arizona State University.

Family: I have been married to my wonderful wife, Jamie, since June 2010. We don't have any kids, but we do have a cat that causes as much trouble as a kid.

Favorite food: Chocolate chip cookies and cucumbers. In fact, every day I have a couple of cucumbers in my work bag chopped up and ready for snacking. I eat the cookies to offset being too healthy.

Favorite spot in Arizona: Sedona, hands down. I actually went there for my honeymoon.

Favorite news memory: I worked on a 3-month project involving the problems with Type II Diabetes along the U.S.-Mexico Border. It's a problem that a lot of people don't about. I met and worked with people down there that changed my life.

Favorite movie: It's hard to pin down just one, but one that always keeps replaying in my head is The Princess Bride.

Favorite TV Show: That 70's Show and The Simpsons. I could probably name some others, but I watch those two as often as possible.

First job: I was a busboy for an Old Chicago back home in Boulder. I worked all through high school at that place, and loved it.

Favorite band: I have a lot of music I listen to, but I love the Foo Fighters and Rise Against. 3 Doors Down is another group that's a favorite on my iPod.

Favorite sports team: The San Francisco 49ers by far! I get a lot of guff for cheering for them in Arizona, but I love every moment of it. As far as college sports go, I'm always following the BYU Cougars.

Outside interests: My wife and I love going outdoors, whether it's camping or hiking. Personally, I love mountain biking. I also play a little guitar when I have a bit of free time.

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