Teens from La Paz County will join youth from across Arizona this month in a global fight to end tobacco use. As members of the statewide anti-tobacco youth coalition STAND (Students Taking a New Direction), they are working to shed light on the dangers of tobacco use and will host a variety of events to mark World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
The students, who have set up No Tobacco Pledge Walls in high traffic areas such as city and town halls, local super markets and other businesses, work year-round to increase awareness about tobacco use in their local communities, encourage others to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive messages and urge local leaders to protect kids from being recruited as a new generation of smokers.
In La Paz County, the teens will conclude their May initiative with a special surprise for local community members who come out to their World No Tobacco Day event at 4:30 p.m. May 31 at Bashas’.
The theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, a global initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO), is “Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.”
“What better way to support this year’s focus on banning tobacco promotion than for us to be out here promoting our own anti-tobacco message,” said Tammy Minor, Teen Solutions Coordinator with the La Paz County Health Department. “Plus, we will have a fun surprise for everyone. So come out, make a pledge and join us.”
According to WHO, tobacco kills nearly six million people worldwide each year, of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. In the United States alone, more than 500,000 people die from tobacco use annually, which is more than 1,400 each day, and 50,000 die from the effects of second-hand smoke.
Arizona Tobacco Stats at a Glance:
- 17.4 percent of Arizona high school students smoke
- 6,000 Arizona kids under 18 become new daily smokers each year
- 227,000 Arizona kids are exposed to second-hand smoke at home
- 10.4 percent of male high school students use smokeless or spit tobacco
- 19.2 percent of adults smoke
(Sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids)
About STAND (Students Taking a New Direction)
STAND, Students Taking a New Direction, a coalition of students ages 13-18 who work to not only raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use, but urge elected officials at all levels of government to treat cigarettes as hazardous materials – including creating regulations for storage, transport, sale and disposal. www.standaz.com
About World No Tobacco Day
Led internationally by the World Health Organization, World No Tobacco Day is a global call-to-action against the tobacco industry with the aim of protecting present and future generations not only from these devastating health consequences, but also against the social, environmental and economic scourges of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke. The first World No Tobacco Day was held in 1987. In Arizona, it is supported by the Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco & Chronic Disease. http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/en/