Students Use Snapchat to Combat Teen Tobacco Use on Kick Butts Day

This year on Kick Butts Day, a national day of activism that empowers youth to take action against tobacco in their community, students across Colorado Springs will be encouraging their peers to stay tobacco-free using Snapchat.

SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) clubs at Palmer High School, North Middle School, Sand Creek High School, Harrison High School and Panorama Middle School partnered with El Paso County Public Health to organize a Snapchat filter contest for Kick Butts Day which takes place on March 21.

Students from these schools were encouraged to submit designs for filters that promote Kick Butts Day and tobacco-free living among their peers.

The winning design by Jillian Anderson of North Middle School will be available on school grounds Friday, March 16 at Sand Creek High School and Wednesday, March 21 at Palmer High School, North Middle School, Harrison High School and Panorama Middle School.

SWAT club members will encourage students to share the filter with their family and friends throughout the day spreading the message across the city. Student led SWAT clubs meet to learn about tobacco, plan peer and community outreach, and improve their school’s tobacco-free policies.

Even though cigarette use has decreased among teens other new and emerging products such as e-cigarettes are on the rise. According to the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 8.6% of high school students in Colorado smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days whereas 26.1% had used an electronic vapor product.

“Nine out of 10 smokers start before the age of 18, therefore prevention efforts must focus on youth,” said Dacia Hudson, program manager of the Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership at Public Health. “Snapchat is a fun way for the kids to engage their peers and help prevent them from using tobacco.”

The contest submissions were judged by My 99.9 Radio’s Laura Hall and announced on air March 14. Anderson’s design was chosen as the first place winner out of 21 submissions. The second and third place winners were Arianna Genochino from Panorama Middle School and Zoey Freeman from North Middle School, respectively.

More than 1,000 communities across the nation participate in raising awareness of the problem of tobacco, encouraging youth to reject tobacco and urging community leaders to take action protecting youth on Kick Butts Day. For more information about Kick Butts Day visit www.kickbuttsday.org.

To view the winning designs and learn more about the contest, visit www.elpasocountyhealth.org.

Category
MavaMarie Cooper
Health Communication Coordinator
(719) 578-3198 office; (719) 238-1652 cell
El Paso County, CO