Students help to snuff out tobacco use
When Mandi Sanders and four other Eudora High students travel between Eudora and Lawrence they get to see their faces on a billboard, which can be kind of a strange experience.
"I kind of don't look at it," Sanders said.
Along with her picture and other students from Eudora and Lawrence high schools is the phrase "Life is free. Death is $3.50 a pack," which can be seen on several billboards near Lawrence.
The students generated the idea as part of a campaign with the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project (CHIP) to display anti-smoking ads that appeal to teenagers.
"We thought that would be kind of fun because we complain about the commercials anyway," Sanders said.
Having a certain frame of mind helped the group generate the idea, said Georgia Campbell, another participant.
"I think we knew we were going for teenagers, so we thought of more ideas that were younger and hipper," Campbell said. "I think that a lot of them are good if they're really short and sweet, but the ones that are long, they don't pay attention to them."
That was why CHIP decided to get students involved, said CHIP coordinator Susan Anderson.
"We actually did some focus groups with kids in Eudora, Baldwin and Lawrence," Anderson said. "What we found out is kids would pay attention more to ads if they knew people in them."
Sanders said the group of volunteers anticipated giving their opinions about existing advertising, not creating their own in about 45 minutes.
"We were all kind of like, 'We have to do what?'" Sanders said.
Anderson said CHIP plans to extend the ads to radio and television, as well as work with a group of junior high school students, which will include more Eudora students.