HAMPTON ROADS -- Locally-based agencies are launching an inventive smoking and tobacco cessation campaign, expressly targeting area teenagers.

The initiative, 757smokefreeteens, offers area youth an opportunity to showcase their creative talents, by creating original tobacco-free messages for local competitions.

The highlights of the campaign include a poster contest for 12 to 15 year-olds, a television public service announcement contest for 16 to 18 year-olds, and a lyric performance contest (e.g., spoken word, song, etc.) for both age groups, 12 to 18 year-olds.

Contest winners will be featured on the City of Norfolk and Norfolk Department of Public Health television program HealthWatch.

The official kick-off is June 11, 2014 and the deadline for all contests is August 22, 2014.

The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth reports that more than 6,000 Virginia youth become new daily smokers, that some 56,000 Virginia high school students currently smoke, and that more than 150,000 Virginia smokers, under age 18 today, will die prematurely from

Interested teens and their parents can reach 757smokefreeteens on Facebook and Instagram at 757smokefreeteens and on Twitter at @757smokefreetns. The Twitter hashtag is #757smokefreeteens.

For further information, call either 757-774-8961 or 757-683-8836.

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