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A billboard outside East Helena,

A billboard outside East Helena, created by Jefferson High School teen Josie Marks, reads: "Open your eyes to the lies. Vaping clouds your mind."

Jefferson High School teen Josie Marks recently won a countywide contest to create an anti-tobacco message.

Marks' design is on display in East Helena and reads “Open your eyes to the lies. Vaping clouds your mind.” It’s meant to alert area teens to the dangers of the largely unknown consequences of vaping.

“Josie’s submission showed creativity and great artistic talent,” said Sarah Sandau, tobacco prevention health educator at Lewis and Clark Public Health. “Her submission is a unique way to challenge her peers to know and understand the risks of vaping.”

Sandau said teens have a powerful voice when it comes to convincing their peers to make healthy life choices. The hope is that the competition can lead to a direct decline in vaping trends among teens in the tri-county area.  

“Josie’s artwork is a powerful way to empower her peers to stay away from vaping,” Sandau said.

Sandau said most tobacco users start before the age of 18. Focusing on area youths are the best way to tackle the problem at its source, she said. 

Thirty middle and high school students from Lewis and Clark, Jefferson and Broadwater counties participated in the contest, according to Lewis and Clark Public Health.

The contest winners

Billboard winners include from left, Scout Lynde, third place, Broadwater High School; Emmalee Madden, fourth place, Helena High School; Josie Marks, first place, Jefferson High School; and Ali Heimbach, second place, Project for Alternative Learning.

Second place was awarded to Ali Heimbach from the Project for Alternative Learning. Third went to Scout Lynde from Broadwater High School and fourth to Peta Compton, Emmalee Madden and Kamryn Horn from Helena High School.

Marks’ first place design will be displayed in East Helena for eight weeks. Heimbach’s second place design will be posted on the west side of Helena for four weeks.

The contest was funded with a grant from React Against Corporate Tobacco, a Montana youth-led movement to motivate students to take a stand against “Big Tobacco.”

To find out more about reACT or the competition, you can contact Sarah Sandau at Lewis and Clark Public Health at 457-8924 or ssandau@lccountymt.gov.

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Education and Business Reporter

Education and Business reporter for Helena Independent Record.

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