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VFHY Launches Tobacco-Free Schools Campaign

March 26, 2015

Youth volunteers across Virginia help make schools 100% tobacco-free

Richmond, VA– The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) is launching its 24/7 Campaign, a youth-driven initiative to help schools become tobacco-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week. VFHY is also launching a website, 247CampaignVA.com, which will offer free online resources and materials that Virginia schools can use to adopt or promote 100 percent tobacco-free schools policies.

Led by VFHY and Y Street, VFHY’s statewide volunteer group for high school students, the 24/7 Campaign will work with schools and school divisions across Virginia to help them implement, enforce and communicate new and existing tobacco-free school policies.

The 24/7 Campaign is also offering free signage to individual schools and school divisions with 100 percent comprehensive tobacco-free policies as well as a free 24/7 Tobacco-Free School Toolkit containing everything schools need to create, communicate, enforce, and support truly tobacco-free school environments.

“Communication is key to helping students, staff, parents and visitors comply with tobacco-free school policies,” says VFHY Director of Marketing Danny Saggese. “Through the 24/7 Campaign, VFHY and Y Street want to make it easier for school divisions to adopt comprehensive tobacco-free policies and to post tobacco-free school signs throughout the school environment.”

Y Street youth volunteers leading the 24/7 Campaign are excited to help all schools become truly tobacco-free. Y Street member Emilie Berger, a senior at Hidden Valley High School in Roanoke, says, "I decided to work with Y Street's 24/7 Campaign because I lost my grandfather to lung cancer and I want to help prevent others from experiencing the same loss when it can be prevented. The 24/7 Campaign is an extraordinary way to get involved and make a stand against tobacco in our school community."

The launch of the 24/7 Campaign comes just months before school divisions in Virginia will be required by state law to develop and implement policies prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes on school property (including on school buses) or during school-sponsored activities. This provides the perfect opportunity for school divisions across Virginia to strengthen their tobacco-free policies by adopting a comprehensive 100 percent tobacco-free schools policy. (The 24/7 Campaign offers model tobacco-free school policy language on its website, www.247CampaignVA.com.)

For more information and to download free materials, visit 247CampaignVA.com.

About the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth

Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1999, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth empowers Virginia’s youth to make healthy choices by promoting active, nutritious and tobacco-free living. Since the Foundation began its work in 2001, High School smoking in Virginia has been cut by more than 60 percent and the number of middle school smokers has dropped by more than 75 percent!

The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth directly reaches about 50,000 children each year through classroom-based prevention programs in public schools, after-school programs, community centers, day cares and prevention programs across the state. VFHY’s award-winning marketing campaigns deliver prevention messaging to more than 500,000 children annually.

About Y Street

Started in 2004, Y Street is the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s teen volunteer group for high school students. Y Street was named the top youth advocacy group for tobacco-use prevention in the nation in 2011 by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Y Street members have been invited to testify before the FDA and have worked on tobacco-use prevention issues with top government officials, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Virginia’s Governor, and Virginia’s Attorney General. Since 2004, almost 7,000 teens statewide have participated in Y Street. For more information, visit www.ystreet.org.

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