Lyon County youths dramatize anti-smoking message with video for peers

One way to keep children from smoking is to point out what they will miss if they do give in to peer pressure to puff away.

Eight young people from Dayton, Silver City, Stagecoach and Yerington participated in an anti-smoking commercial produced and directed by Dayton resident Temma Keaton, a free-lance television and radio producer.

The effort was sponsored by Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey counties and cost about $3,500 to make. The kids did it themselves - mostly, according to Keaton.

The young videographers were Hayden Harrower of Virginia City Highlands; Alex McDonald of Silver City; Kelly Kotik of Silver City; Jareth Childs of Silver Springs; Daija Thomas of Dayton and three siblings; and Kris Makila and Jeremiah Marshall of Stagecoach.

"The kids wrote it," Keaton said. "I just directed it for them and physically produced it for them."

She added that several parents also took part.

Childs, 15, played one of the grim reapers.

"I was telling stories about how people die tobacco-related deaths," he said. "My mom asked me to be tobacco prevention leader for YEATI (Youth Educating About Tobacco Issues), and we did the video for a media campaign."

The Silver Stage High School junior said that although he liked doing the video, he's more into graphics and computers and doesn't see a future in television.

Keaton described the 41Ú2-minute video as "like three mini-movies."

Viewers are taken through the commercial by three grim reapers, a boy and two girls, who wander around the Dayton cemeteries.

In the first section, a boy of about 10 is shown dreaming of owning his own car. But as a teen, he begins smoking and never has the money to buy the car. Next, the boy is shown in his coffin, thinking, "Man, I didn't want this kind of car" - a hearse.

The second part of the commercial shows three young men running through Dayton State Park. The sole smoker among them can't keep up with the others, so he wises up and throws his cigarettes into the Carson River.

Keaton said after the scene was shot the group, retrieved the cigarettes, so as not to pollute the river, and disposed of them properly.

The third segment, shows a 2-year-old girl in a kitchen getting under the sink and grabbing chemicals. Her older sister, a teen, pulls the child away saying, "Bad, very bad." Later, the older girl looks in her mother's purse and picks up a pack of cigarettes. As she is reading the package, she repeats what she said to the toddler, "Bad, very bad."

At the end of each section, statistics roll on the screen regarding the cost, health risks and types and amounts of chemicals in cigarettes.

YEATI of Lyon and Storey counties is funded by the Task Force for a Healthy Nevada, which helps create tobacco education, prevention and cessation programs.

"They do community awareness, presentations in the schools and environmental strategies with billboards talking about the number of kids that don't smoke, the chemicals that are in cigarettes, and how the tobacco industry advertises to kids," said YEATI director Alecia Hoffman, who began the program in July 2004.

Hoffman said there are six teams of volunteer youths in the program, ranging from sixth grade through high school seniors.

The anti-smoking commercial will be shown in Dayton, Virginia City, Fernley, Silver Springs and Yerington schools.

"We hope to get it in all the schools," Hoffman said. "It's geared toward elementary, middle and high school."

n Karen Woodmansee can be reached at or 881-1351.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment