BUFFALO, N.Y. — Trinity Washington, 14, is the winner of a recent billboard design contest to illustrate the dangers of vaping.

"I'm very proud of myself," said Washington. "[It's] a girl; smoke is overtaking her body and that's what I drew."

What You Need To Know

  •  The Prevention Council of Erie County announced the winner of a billboard design contest

  •  The winning design will be displayed on billboards and on buses

  • The campaign is to combat youth using marijuana

Part of Washington's winnings include a mini mock-up of her drawing to be featured on billboards and the back of buses in Erie County. Though the message itself is far-reaching.

"I think it just takes that one message to convince a person to not put these chemicals into their body because it's very normalized in our generation," said Washington.

Leaders with the Prevention Council of Erie County also honored other students for their anti-vape entries, messages encouraging peers to make smart decisions that'll impact them long-term.

"Helping to educate and promote healthy messaging in regards to not vaping both marijuana and tobacco products," said Robin Mann, executive director, The Prevention Council of Erie Council.

The campaign against the dangers of marijuana isn't a new one for the council, but leaders have tweaked the program since adult-use recreational cannabis became legal in the state, looking to generate millions from it.

"It's discouraging but we're not defeated," said Mann. "The perception of risk and the perception of harm went down once it was legalized becasue it felt like, oh if it's legal it must be OK."

Mann says marijuana has hundreds more chemicals than nicotine, which can impact brain development, cause anxiety and depression, and decrease a student's capacity to learn.

"Legal doesn't always mean OK. And so when you're adding harmful substances or your exposing the brain to harmful substances, you are minimizing its ability to work to it's fullest potential," said Mann.

Which prompted the council to open the contest to students.

"The one thing I enjoy is seeing how they take an idea and come up with these visual images that are very powerful," said Eleanor Byrne, visual art instructor, Buffalo Public Schools.

Images like Washington's, and the message behind them.

"You can end up putting yourself in danger," said Washington.

Prevention leaders also encourage parents or others who may use not to do so in front of kids.

Not only will they be exposed to a bad habit, but also to the dangers of second-hand smoke.