Advocacy

#BeTheVoice

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 12.03.38 PMFrom March 21 to March 23 I had the opportunity to go to Nevada to work with the youth of their state initiative at their state conference. I attended this conference with Ritney Castine from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids; we were invited to participate at the conference as guest presenters. We taught the youth at the conference how to be leaders in their schools and communities and how to get their peers engaged in tobacco prevention. I really enjoyed how this conference was set up because during the day there were activities and presentations then in the afternoon and evening we all went to the park and the movies. *We watched Divergent, It was a really great movie and I would recommend it.*

I worked with the youth on social media engagement and I showed them how to create social media campaigns. I was really surprised to learn that most of Nevada does not have access to the internet so the youth there are not very engaged online. This was an obstacle for me as I planned my presentation. So, I improvised by showing them how to use what they could and I worked with their sponsors to set up blogs that their youth can write up posts for and then have their sponsors post for them. I, afterlighthonestly, assumed that everyone had access to the internet and that all young people were on social media. When I found out that most of Nevada’s youth do not even have access to the internet I was very surprised and it made me realize a lo of things about my plans for the future and how I plan on working in social change work.
Overall, I had a really great experience at this conference and I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to work with theseamazing young leaders. Nevada is a very beautiful state and I look forward to my next chance to visit. When I left they gave me a shirt that everyone had signed and a cup with a picture of the whole group. I really love doing this work and I am excited to see where it will take me in the future

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Kick Butts Day 2014!!!

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Happy Kick Butts Day!!!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year, it is Kick Butts Day or Texas Tobacco Free Kids Day here in the state! Kick Butts Day is a day that is dedicated to tobacco prevention groups doing events simultaneously all around the world. Here in the State we have adapted this day into Texas Tobacco Free Kids Day so that it is recognized as a state wide event for tobacco prevention with the Say What! groups. Kick Butts Day (#KBD) is organized by The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and this year for #KBD they are having people show their support of CVS’ decision to stop selling all tobacco products by the end of the year. They are asking supporters of CVS to pose with a flyer in front of a CVS store, take a picture and post it online with #StandWithCVS.

CVS announced last month that they will stop selling all tobacco products by October 1st of this year. This decision comes with the companies recent changes and plans for their company in the near future. CVS is now CVS Caremark and they plan to be a health care provider! They agree that tobacco has no place in a pharmacy, or health store. Congrats to CVS for doing what is morally right to care for their customers! Hopefully, other national pharmacies will follow CVS and prove that their customers are valued.

I find it extremely ironic that Walgreeens’ motto is “At the Corner of Happy & Healthy” but literally in the corner of their store is tobacco products. Come on Walgreens follow CVS and do what we all know is right!

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Get Involved! and follow all of the events that are happening:

#KBD, #TTFKD & #StandWithCVS

Youth Engagement in Change: From the Summit on the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Tobacco Report

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50 years ago, US Surgeon General Luther L. Terry wrote the first Surgeon General’s report linking smoking to cancer.

Read Surgeon General Terry’s Report Here: http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/NN/p-nid/60

1069157_618847054837883_504654682_nIn honor of the historic 50 year milestone there was a summit held in New Orleans, Louisiana last week that was broadcasted live on the internet for people to view all around the world. The summit was a series of panel discussions featuring some of the leaders in the fight against big tobacco, including all living former US Surgeon Generals. I had the honor of being on the youth panel at the event that highlighted the importance of youth in promoting change in tobacco prevention initiatives and discussing the new FDA youth campaign The Real Cost that will soon be featured around the country and will directly target youth 12-17 and CVS’ decision to remove tobacco products from all of their stores. Overall the event was really amazing because of the people that were a part of it, but the best, and most rewarding, part was being able to tell the world that youth are the leaders of the change that we are seeing in society today.  

Whether or not the “adult world” wants to realize it, youth are the professionals in this generation. We have mastered the art of social media and we use it more than anyone else to spread our message and promote change that we support. If you want to successfully promote change then connect with a young person and give them the resources that they need to effectively use their voice in society. For a lot of adults that work in social change work this can be very scary because their job is on the line and they are trusting a young person. However, if adults would show young people that they trust them to do their work then they will do it with passion and the adult will find that giving a young person their voice in society is more rewarding than any amount of money. The truth is that young people listen to their peers in society more than they listen to adults. So why not recruit youth to lead change in society?

If you work in any form of activism then I would prompt you to include youth in all of your efforts and teach them how to do use their voice to promote change and lead the change. Also, please take some time to watch the summit (it is an entire days event so watching all of it at once is rather unreasonable but each panel is 30 minutes – 1 hour long and I have mentioned them below, in order, with a brief summary of the discussion topics) and pass it along to your colleagues.

There were six other panels at the event and they were all very informative about the current state of tobacco control. The entire summit is still online and can be viewed at: http://tobaccosummit.com/live.html

First panel: Conversations with U.S. Surgeons General – Reviewing the impact of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, reflecting on efforts of Surgeons Generals since the groundbreaking report and discussing where do we go from here to have a tobacco-free generations.
Second panel: Next Tobacco-Free Generation – Young anti-tobacco leaders have a conversation about what they are doing to reach a tobacco-free generation with examples of campaigns that work and new public service announcements directed to young people.
Third panel: Sons of Our Father – The sons of Dr. Luther Terry an Dr. Alton Ochsner, two pioneers against smoking and the hazards of tobacco use, reflect on the life and legacy of their fathers.
Fourth panel: Litigation, Legislation or Regulation – What impact on public health has litigation, legislation and regulations had and will have.
Fifth panel: Media and the Tobacco-Free Generation – A discussion on media’s role and its influence on young people in the past, present and future.
Sixth panel: Marketing and New Products – Defy students from Lake Charles, Louisiana, will perform a skit centered around how tobacco is marketed to youth and what they plan to do about it.
Seventh panel: What’s Working – An overview of efforts that have succeeded in increasing awareness about tobacco’s harm to individual health and why prevention works.

Not Another 50

Not Another 50

So for my first post I have decided to do it over the most recent achievement in the world of tobacco prevention and the last event that I have worked on.

Last summer I went to Washington D.C. to work with The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and Legacy for Health Foundation on an activism event in front of the white house that highlighted the last 50 years since the first Surgeon Generals Report on tobacco use. We talked to people about how the first report linked smoking to cancer and how tobacco prevention has evolved over the last 50 years.

On the website you can see when an event, related to tobacco prevention, happened on a timeline and understand more about what the industry has done to evolve as well from all of the changes over the years. The website also has a link to how someone can get involved if they want to share this campaign.