Tobacco use continues to plague our youth, and the cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies still heavily target youth spending more than 9 billion dollars on advertising and promotional expenses in the U.S. The Surgeon General reports that nearly nine out of 10 people who smoke, start by age 18, and 99% start before the age of 26.
Although Kick Butts Day is only one day out of the year, Breathe Easy (BE) Teams in Jefferson County are participating in activities to reduce the toll of tobacco in their schools and communities, thus making every day a day of activism and empowerment. BE Teams are youth clubs that are supported by their high schools and Jefferson County Public Health that educate their peers and community members about the problem of tobacco and advocate for sustainable solutions, including policy change.
During the month of February, BE Teams participated in an interactive activity where they wrote break up and rejection letters to “Nic O. Tine,” a fictional character representing all tobacco products and the tobacco industry. Letters stated, “You’re killing my mom – stop taking her money,” and “I need a breather. You’re killing me.” The BE Teams helped organize and facilitate this activity during their schools’ lunch hours in order to educate, involve and inspire their peers. Watch Jeffco Public Schools’ video highlighting the BE Teams’ work!