Youth leaders work to prevent smoking as part of National “Kick Butts Day”

Somerville Special Positive Forces Junior Edition (SPFJr.), a youth group within the City’s Somerville Cares About Prevention (SCAP) program in the Health Department, celebrated “Kick Butts Day” on Wednesday, March 22 by chalking facts and messages pertaining to tobacco on the sidewalks.  SPFJr. youth promoted the fact that 85% of Somerville High School students DO NOT smoke and that smoking is NOT the norm as reported on the 2010 SHS Student Health Survey.  SPFJr. is a group of Somerville middle school students that works to reduce youth substance abuse and related issues.  “Kick Butts Day” is a special a day for activism where youth are encouraged to “Stand Out, Speak Up, and Seize Control of Big Tobacco.” Youth get to choose whichever activity they want to educate, attract, and inspire others around issues related to tobacco and addiction.

Important facts regarding the negative consequences of tobacco were also shared along walk ways and at bus stops, facts including, “Tobacco Industry addicts more than 1,000 youth every day,” “50,000 die every year in the U.S. from second hand smoke,” and “Worldwide, tobacco use kills 1 person every 6.3 seconds.” Other eye-catching phrases included, “Save your lungs, Save your LIFE,” and a to-the-point message, “SMOKING KILLS.”

“This work is incredibly important as it gets people thinking. This is the start to activism, getting the information out there and challenging Big Tobacco. The youth are excited to continue doing this type of community outreach and we look forward to their efforts,” stated Ariana Coniglio, SCAP Assistant Project Director.

For more information about Somerville Positive Forces and Somerville Cares About Prevention or to volunteer, please contact:  Lovelee Heller-Bottari, SCAP Program Director, at 617-625-6600 x4322 or lheller@somervillema.gov.

 

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