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The purpose of this contest is to raise awareness about the toxic impact tobacco use and vaping has on California communities. Show us your creativity and send us your photographs that show the many deceptive ways that big tobacco affects you and your community.  


How to Enter

The contest runs from March 2-April 30, 2020. Contestants must submit the contestant release, entry form and contest photographs by 4:00 pm (PST) on April 30, 2020. Only entries submitted online will be accepted. Please submit original photographs only. All submissions will be vetted to assure originality and prevent plagiarism. Winning entries will be announced on various social media channels after the winners claim their award.



There are cash prizes for the top four contest entries! The contest prizes are as follows:

  • Grand Prize: $500
  • Gold: $250
  • Silver: $150
  • Bronze: $100

Winners will be selected based on the creativity of the photo and how well the entry conveys the message that tobacco is harmful. Winners will be announced and contacted by May 10, 2020. Each person will only be eligible to win one prize, regardless of the number of submissions.  


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Entry Form

Recommended Submission Categories

There is a submission limit of three (3) photos for each contestant. All photos may include original graphic design and editing. The following are recommended photo submission categories to help give you an idea of the types of photos we are looking for:

 Tobacco/Vape Advertising: The tobacco industry tries hard to advertise to young people, students, ethnic groups, and disadvantaged groups through various deceitful and sneaky methods, such as candy-flavored tobacco and products that look like toys and gadgets. Show us you’re not fooled by them and capture their sneaky or not so sneaky tactics.

 Secondhand Smoke/Vape: What’s that smell? Have you ever attended a concert, went to an amusement park, the beach, or dined outdoors when suddenly a cloud of smoke from cigarettes or vapes hits you in the face? Yeah, that’s called secondhand smoke, and it’s toxic! Images in this category may include exposure to secondhand smoke, use of e-cigarettes/vapes, or public no-smoking signage. 

 Tobacco/Vape Waste: It’s everywhere! Photos in this category may include cigarette butts or packs; e-cigarette liquid containers, cartridges, or devices; or cigarillo wrappers that have been discarded along sidewalks, parks, beaches, bus stops, or campuses – places where we live, work, and play.

 Tobacco Industry Deception: The Tobacco Industry has a long history of deception, whether it is through glamorous and fun advertisements; promoting specific values; or by blatantly targeting consumers of a specific age, race, or sexuality. Images in this category may spotlight these deceptive advertisements or marketing ploys.


  1. No entry fee is required to participate or win. The contest is void where prohibited by law, regulation, statute, or other appropriate legal authority.
  2. Contestants must be at least 13 years of age and a California resident to participate. Contestants under the age of 18 must have a parent/guardian consent.
  3. Submissions will only be accepted from March 2 through April 30, 2020. Contestants must submit the contestant release and entry form and contest photographs by 4:00 pm (PST) on April 30, 2020.
  4. The person submitting the photo will be considered the contestant and will be the only person eligible to compete for the prize. In order to be eligible to win the prize, the contestant must provide accurate and complete information in their submission.
  5. Individuals submitting as a group may only win a prize as part of the group or as an individual but not both.
  6. The following individuals are not eligible to enter the contest: California Tobacco Control Program employees or family members; professional photographers or advertisers; and any affiliates of the tobacco industry.
  7. When a photo is submitted for entry into the contest, the contestant’s full name and city of residence will be publicly identified.


This photo contest is sponsored by the California Department of Public Health, the American Cancer Society, the California Department of Education, and the California Youth Advocacy Network.

Limitations of Liability and Release

 By submitting a photo into the contest, you are indicating that you have read and agreed to the following terms:

  1.  You are not submitting any photos that are unlawful, injurious, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable.
  2. You are not submitting any photos that injure in any way.
  3. You are not submitting any photos with content that you do not have a right to make available under any law or other proprietary rights of any party.
  4. You acknowledge that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and its designees shall have the right (but not the obligation) at their sole discretion to pre-screen, reject, or remove any photos at any time.
  5. You agree to allow CDPH and its designees unlimited use of your images in any medium, at any time and in any manner deemed appropriate by CDPH. You acknowledge CDPH’s right to alter or edit the images in any manner deemed necessary by CDPH.

2020 Photo Contest Contestant Release Form

I understand the submission will remain the sole and exclusive product of the California Department of Public Health from the date written by the contestant on this release and will remain the sole and exclusive product of the California Department of Public Health indefinitely. The submission of all photos shall be the exclusive property of the California Department of Public Health and may be edited, altered or used in any manner whatsoever, in any medium, for any time as deemed necessary by the California Department of Public Health. I also affirm that all people and/or business names shown in the photo(s) submitted have agreed to be photographed and that said photograph and their likeness may be submitted to the photo contest.

In granting these rights, I understand and I hereby hold the California Department of Public Health, its agencies, and their respective affiliates, officers, directors, agents, co-branders, or other partners, and any of their employees (collectively, the "Indemnities"), harmless from any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs (including reasonable attorneys' fees and costs of suit, including, but not limited to, experts costs through appeal), and liabilities (including settlements), brought or asserted by any third party against any of the Indemnities due to or arising out of the contestant’s submission, or the contestant’s conduct in creating a submission or otherwise in connection with this contest, including but not limited to claims for trademark infringement; copyright infringement; violation of an individual’s right of publicity or right of privacy; or defamation. Contestant further agrees to release the California Department of Public Health from any and all claims that any advertising subsequently produced, presented, and/or prepared by or on behalf of the California Department of Public Health infringes contestant’s rights with regard to any elements, characters or ideas contained in any submission. The term on this authorization shall commence on this date and continue indefinitely. 

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to California Department of Public Health and not to Facebook or Instagram. The information you provide will only be used for the California Department of Public Health's photo contest.


Official Rules

Copyright 2020 California Department of Public Health 



Contact Liz Hendrix at or via phone: 916-324-4150

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