By Sydney Goemaat and Rose Rankin
More than 480,000 people in the United States will die this year from a tobacco-related disease. During the month of March the Van Buren County Warriors Ignite youth coalition members are taking a stand to stop youth from getting hooked on deadly tobacco products.
Unfortunately, 90% of smokers start using tobacco regularly by the time they are 18, and we know from the December 2016 Surgeon General’s Report that three million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2015.
In order to give kids a fighting chance, the Warriors Ignite Members plan to join thousands of students across the country who are taking part in Kick Butts Day, a nationwide initiative that empowers student advocates to lead the effort to stop youth tobacco use. As part of the Kick Butts Day celebration, Warriors Ignite Members will be doing several activities, as follows:
· High School members will be doing a Crime Scene on March 9th that will be setup at the Van Buren Community Jr. /Sr. High School during the lunch hours for the 7th-12th grade students. The Crime Scene will include facts about smoking tobacco and how people have died from the harmful effects of tobacco.
· Middle School members on March 9th will be doing a Scavenger Hunt outside with their peers. During the Scavenger Hunt students will learn about the dangers of smoking and tobacco awareness.
· Middle and High School members will be spreading the word about the dangers of smoking and tobacco awareness on March 22nd and 23rd while peer teaching at the elementary school to the 5th and 6th grade students.
· Middle School members will be placing messages with cups in the fence during a home track meet at the Middle/High School. These messages will share tobacco facts and encourage community members to be tobacco free.
· Middle School members will be making buttons to share with their peers to encourage them to remain tobacco free.
There are many effective ways state and local officials can protect young people from tobacco. They can fund tobacco prevention programs; increase tobacco taxes; and pass smoke-free laws to protect us from secondhand smoke. Consider these facts: Each day, more than 400 kids become new regular smokers; roughly one-third of them will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease.
Today’s youth are not just part of the problem; they’re part of the solution. And the students from Van Buren County want tobacco companies to know that on Kick Butts Day and every day throughout the year, we’re going to fight them every step of the way!
For more information on the Van Buren County Warriors Ignite youth coalition or Kick Butts Day please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.