Reducing tobacco use and preventing new folks from lighting up never takes a summer vacation. It’s not like we were changed to our desks, though. We joined our Reality Check youth in communities across Western New York in making healthy changes for all.

Here are the top five things we did, with a lot of help from our teens:

1. Reality Check Youth Summit 2018

Good vibes were flowing at Cazenovia College in July. Teen advocates discovered how powerful their voices are and will bring their #SeenEnoughTobacco message to their own communities this year.

 2. Chautauqua County Fair

With Youth Summit in the books, Tobacco-Free CCA Community Engagement Manager Ken Dahlgren educated fair-goers about the health effects of tobacco use and the deceitful marketing tactics of Big Tobacco. His tobacco-free dairy cow was shocked by how the industry targets kids. 

The impact tobacco marketing has on youth is utterly shocking.

3. Paint for Prevention

Alfred University students kicked off the new school year with healthy creativity. 42 artists chalked campus sidewalks with tobacco and other prevention-related messages, including substance abuse and domestic violence. Our team from Tobacco-Free CCA handed out informational materials and how to quit smoking guides throughout the event. 

Alfred students get their creative on to express concerns about public health issues they see on campus.

4. Celebrating Smoke Free Public Housing

We wrapped up July by honoring the Niagara Falls Housing Authority for meeting the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) July 31, 2018 deadline to ban smoking.

What was behind the NFHA’s success? Tenant outreach, resident meetings, posting smoke-free signs and conducting surveys on the new smoking ban. Their efforts will help protect the rights of our most vulnerable citizens, our children, who deserve to live and play in an environment with clean air.

Youth who live in Niagara Falls’ public housing units joined NFHA interim executive director Patricia Barone in celebrating cleaner, smoke-free air.

5. Seabreeze Park Rally

Guests came to Seabreeze Amusment Park for the adrenaline-rush rides but stayed for the Seen Enough Tobacco rally. On August 15, twenty Reality Check teens (and their adult coordinators) from across New York State educated kids and their parents on the dangers of tobacco use, as well as the marketing tactics Big Tobacco uses to target our children.

Reality Check GLOW members staged interactive activities throughout Seabreeze Amusement Park to teach kids and parents the dangers of tobacco use.

Thanks to our Reality Check teens, as well as our partners and champions, for a great summer. To find out how you can join our tobacco-free movement, call Gretchen Galley at 845-1300, X4207 today. Or, connect with her at [email protected].