Youth from Fillmore Central and Olean High School took time out of their summer vacation to fight for a tobacco-free generation.

To help them begin their fight, they attended the annual Reality Check (RC) of New York Youth Summit at Cazenovia College.

Members of Tobacco-Free CCA’s Reality Check group are ready to fight tobacco use in their communities.

“The average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13,” said Tobacco-Free CCA member and Olean High School’s Aubrianna Weber. “I want our teens and children of the future to live long healthy lives by never starting to smoke.”

“The tobacco industry spends more than $9 billion a year promoting tobacco products–more than a half million dollars in New York daily,” said Taylor Shearer, an Olean High School senior. “Our Reality Check group has taken action to protect our youth from tobacco marketing but we’ve got a lot more work to do—and we’ve got the power to do it.”

Chalking the walkways with tobacco facts in Cazenovia NY helped RC advocates build awareness for the benefits of tobacco-free living.

Another part of the Summit was focused on celebration. At the Summit dance party and movie night, the RC members celebrated the accomplishments they made in their local communities over the past year. Achievements include working toward a tobacco-free Olean city parks policy and advocating for both Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21. 

To learn more about Reality Check and join the tobacco-free fight, email Reality Check coordinator Jonathan Chaffee at [email protected]