Press Releases

Louisville Fifth-Grader’s Artwork Wins 'No Tobacco Challenge' Contest

Published: Jan. 21, 2022

About 1,600 youths smoke their first cigarette and nearly 200 youths start smoking regularly each day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2020, over 6% of middle school students and over 23% of high school students reported currently using a tobacco product.

While cigarette smoking is becoming less frequent among middle- and high-schoolers, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youths since 2014. In 2020, about one in 20 middle school students and one in five high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

It’s statistics like these that make the “No Tobacco Challenge” such an important initiative in Douglas, Sarpy and Cass Counties.

The “No Tobacco Challenge” is a creative way to engage students and have discussions about the dangers of tobacco and vaping, as well as the importance of making healthy life choices. Fifth-grade students in seven schools across these counties recently completed the 2021 challenge, which included virtual options to accommodate changing classroom needs.

The program culminates with an art project in which each student portrays what a tobacco-free life looks like to them. One student is chosen as a grand prize winner from a pool of finalists. This year’s winner is Maci Zweiner, a student in Tracy Klein’s class at Louisville Elementary School in Louisville, Nebraska.

For her outstanding artwork (shown above), Maci received a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. Her teacher received a $200 Barnes & Noble gift card for classroom supplies and goodies, and her class received a pizza party from Valentino’s.

Five runners-up in the art contest each received a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, and their teachers each received a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card for supplies. Their classrooms also received Valentino’s pizza parties.

“It’s never too early to learn about how tobacco products can negatively affect your health,” said Deb Meyers, BSN, RN, OCN, program manager for the Methodist Lung and Thoracic Oncology Clinic. “It’s inspiring to see these students take part in the ‘No Tobacco Challenge.’ Their dedication to healthy lifestyles can make a difference for their families, friends and communities.”

The “No Tobacco Challenge” was implemented by Methodist Health System and is supported by Methodist Hospital Foundation and its donors. The Metro Omaha Tobacco Action Coalition (MOTAC) and Tobacco Education & Advocacy of the Midlands (T.E.A.M.) have since joined the partnership to expand the reach of the tobacco-free message. Class instruction and activities are derived from a program sponsored by Scholastic.

2021 No Tobacco Challenge Contest

Grand Prize Winner
Louisville Elementary student Maci Zweiner  
Teacher: Tracy Klein

Bell Elementary student Ainsley Hegge 
Teacher: Melissa Macke

Louisville Elementary student Alexis Ostblom
Teacher: Tracy Klein

Louisville Elementary student Raymond Zimmer
Teacher: Tracy Klein

St. James/Seton Catholic School student Sarah Pearson
Teacher: Shelly Brown

St. James/Seton Catholic School student Marin Rohan
Teacher: Shelly Brown