Tweets for Your Sweet: Campaign to Help Students Quit Smoking

Statewide campaign uses Twitter lingo to talk to students about quitting smoking

It sounds like a Valentine’s Day campaign, but it’s not. “Tweets for Your Sweet” is a statewide initiative in North Carolina to help teens quit smoking and raise awareness about the resources available for those trying to kick the habit.

As a part of the North Carolina Tobacco Free Colleges initiative, students were asked to submit short, Twitter-sized messages that they would send to someone they cared about to encourage them to quit smoking.

“We are always looking for student input to help drive policy and impact health,” Geoff Zuckerman told The Seahawk, a University of North Carolina publication. Zuckerman is the Tobacco Free Colleges coordinator, and he says that the only age group where tobacco use increases is between the ages of 18 to 24.  “We know how addictive tobacco is, and we are working to help those who wish to quit” he said. Zuckerman figured that if he wants to talk to teens, he might as well engage in their language, so he borrowed the Twitter lingo as the format for the contest.

The campaign involved ten schools in the United States, but University of North Carolina at Wilmington had the best response.

The Tobacco Free Colleges Initiative started five years ago, an offshoot of the project to make all North Carolina highschools tobacco free, reports Sasha Johnson of The Seahawk. The initiative is funded by the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund.

The first place tweet was authored UNCW junior Alyssa Hall. She wrote “stop smoking, I’m not joking! 1-800-QUIT NOW is the # u need 2 dial, they’ll help u quit, it’ll b worthwhile! =)”

Larren Kluttz and Amanda Higgins, both seniors,  were the runners up. Kluttz’s tweeted, “U r smoking hot…without a cigarette, call 1-800-QUIT NOW” while Higgins’ slogan was “Me + U= =), U + tobacco (toxic chemicals x a lot) =Death, Me – U= =(, let’s grow old 2gether<3, 1-800-QUIT NOW.”

According to a press release from UNCW, the winning slogans will be used in the statewide campaign to help students stop smoking.