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Teen Court seeks friends who don't use tobacco
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The social network is being used locally for a anti-tobacco promotion aimed primarily at teens.

The 20th Judicial District Teen Court now has a page on Facebook, Teen Court Coordinator CynDee Christiansen said. Students who "like" the page, JudicialDist TeenCourt, have a chance to win $50 cash or other prizes every month by recruiting others. Students in high schools and middle schools in Barton, Rice and Russell counties will compete during the three-month tobacco-free campaign.

Teen Court received a $1,000 grant from the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition, Christiansen said.

"Teen Court is part of a statewide youth movement against tobacco," she said in a news release. "Tobacco use remains a leading public health issue in Kansas. Currently 17.1 percent of Kansas youth say they smoke. The mini-grant goal is to encourage creativity in youth-led projects that focus on activities that protect teens and their peers from becoming addicted to cigarettes and tobacco products."

To join the contest, go to JudicialDist TeenCourt on Facebook and become a "friend" of Teen Court. Then ask others to do the same. Those who join should add a comment or post on the Facebook wall that lists the school they are from and the name of the friend who sent them there. "Recruited adults count too," Christiansen said. "Simply have them say what school they support and the name of the student who sent them to our wall."

The goal for the web page is to grow to 500 "likes" in the coming weeks.

People are also asked to post a message appropriate to the tobacco-free campaign, such as "It’s up to us to help make the change," or "I hate kissing a girl who smokes; it’s like kissing an ashtray," Christiansen said.

Schools within the 20th Judicial District Teen Court program with the most participation (per capita) will win the 2012 Youth Led Tobacco Prevention Trophy to display, she said.

The Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition Inc. received a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, a national public health foundation devoted to tobacco use prevention and cessation, to support youth tobacco prevention efforts in Kansas.