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An Interview With Christy

Question: Why did you decide to become a spokesperson for a smokefree lifestyle?

Christy: Because my life has been greatly affected by the drug in terms of personal addiction as well as the loss of my father.

Question: You have openly shared the fact that you used to smoke when you were younger. How did you ultimately quit for good?

Christy: I tried acupuncture, the patch, and hypnosis but found that I needed to do it alone—when the time was right for me.

Question: Besides long-term health issues, have you already experienced any benefits from quitting?

Christy: I feel much more clear-minded. There isn't any fogginess when I wake up. Nicotine is both a stimulant and a depressant, so that can make one feel quite imbalanced.

Question: Was peer pressure ever a factor in your decision to start smoking?

Christy: I was never directly pressured by peers, but surrounding myself with others who were experimenting with smoking provided a certain false comfort.

Question: In your line of work, there are many models who continue to smoke, even though they know the health consequences. Have you ever tried to influence some of your peers to quit?

Christy: I won't take responsibility for anyone else’s quitting, but I would be very proud to have influenced anyone I know or don't know to quit.

Question: Do you believe that kids are influenced to smoke by what they see in movies and/or music videos? If so, what do you think the entertainment industry could do to denormalize tobacco use without sacrificing artistic freedom?

Christy: I think that being myself is the best example I can be with my friends and colleagues. Everyone knows the health consequences at this point. What people fail to acknowledge is their addiction—people think they can stop at any time, that it’s easy—it’s not. I know that kids are influenced by what they see in movies, videos, and TV because I've seen and heard testimonials stating such.

I don't think that artists of any kind would or could sacrifice their artistic freedom by being more responsible with their influence on people (especially young people). In fact, it may even make them a little more creative with their acting choices, for example. Unless it is imperative, which is improbable, it shouldn't be done. It’s careless behavior.

Question: Tobacco companies often portray cigarette smoking as glamorous...they are even getting into the music business to help promote certain brands of cigarettes. How can teens, especially young women, become more savvy about the messages that promote smoking as fun, sexy, and desirable?

Christy: We should all re-evaluate advertising that contradicts what we know to be the truth; especially when the ads are harmfully manipulative.

Question: What do you think parents can do to discourage kids from smoking? Do kids even listen to their parents anymore?

Christy: Parents should not smoke in order to discourage their kids from smoking. A child is more likely to smoke when they have been raised in the environment of a smoker. Parents should be the most important examples for their children.

Question: In your opinion, what are some common misconceptions teens have about cigarettes?

Christy: That they make them look grown-up and that they won't become addicted. That they can quit before it’s dangerous.

Question: What would you say to young women who smoke to prevent weight gain?

Christy: That there are plenty of fat smokers.

Question: What can young people do themselves to encourage a smoke-free environment?

Christy: Ask for it—ask their parents, if they smoke, not to smoke around them or their friends.

Question: What is the most important message you'd like to give young people, in light of the current increase in smoking among teens?

Christy: That it is better to not even try it than to endure the ramifications of either quitting or dying.

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