Thursday, July 8, 2010

Van Buren JEL Teens Helped “Break the Connection”

Pella, Iowa – July 8, 2010 – Five Van Buren County JEL/YLC members and nearly 200 teens from across the state gathered to learn new strategies to fight Big Tobacco at the 10th Annual “Break the Connection” (JEL) Summit, June 17-19 at Central College. Alicia Schalla (Executive Council Member), Carson Schuck, Drew Nolting, Tyler Runyon, and Cassie Johnson represented Van Buren County at the Summit.

The 3-day for-JEL-teens-by-JEL-teens event is designed to educate teens about the health effects of tobacco use, secondhand smoke and the methods tobacco companies are using to get teens hooked on their products. The youth were not taught this from adults, however. They taught the tracks and learned from each other.

Each Summit attendee participated in a variety of learning sessions ranging from general tobacco information. to media advocacy. to how to organize JEL events in their home towns. The JEL Executive Council, the youth leaders of the program, led these sessions.

“We want youth to know that they can be a part of something great in JEL and can make a difference in their towns and with their peers,” explains Bryant Hickie, new JEL President. “We want to create awareness of tobacco prevention throughout the state, which can save lives.”

The Summit closed with an hour-long street marketing demonstration in downtown Pella. The event symbolically ‘broke the connection’ between tobacco and the death and disease it causes. It is time for someone to finally break the connection and JEL was up to the task.

JEL activities and other tobacco use prevention and control activities are funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control.

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