SMOKING: Webcast to Show Smokers Going ‘Cold Turkey’
Banking on the "frenzy over voyeuristic reality TV" and hoping to assist Mississippi's antitobacco campaign efforts, QuestionIt.com has designed a seven-day Webcast in which four young smokers have moved into a Jackson, Miss., two-bedroom apartment to try to quit smoking, the USA Today reports. The Webcast, called "Cold Turkey," will show viewers what it is like to end a three to five year tobacco addiction by allowing them to watch the residents 24 hours a day via two Webcams fixed in the apartment. In addition, viewers can chat with cast members over email and will be able to control the difficulty level of the smokers' mission by selecting "triggers" or "tools" they would like the characters to see the following day, such as a calming massage or a trip to a bar. To add a twist of temptation, unopened packs of favorite brands of cigars and cigarettes will be placed in the apartment throughout the week to bait participants. Security guards will search participants each night as they return to the apartment to prevent anyone from sneaking in tobacco and will also prevent friends from tossing a pack up to the balcony. The drama will continue with some selected members digging a "grave" for one participant to watch his or her own "funeral." In another episode, cast members will be forced to endure hours of sexy smoking scenes from movies. "Combining information about the tobacco industry, competition, how to quit smoking and voyeurism among a group of people in an isolated setting and making this all accessible to the teens is brilliant," San Diego psychologist Marlene Maheu, who developed the online tobacco-cessation program nicotinefreedom.com, said. Cast members who make it through the week successfully will receive $500, the benefit of a smoke-free lifestyle and a little Web fame, USA Today reports. "Cold Turkey" can be viewed at QuestionIt.com (Shields, 8/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.