On Wednesday, May 31, our Reality Check groups in Tobacco-Free GLOW celebrated World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). While we celebrate it one day, we live the message and mission every day. The goal: to raise awareness and envision a life without tobacco.
The Reality Check group from Kendall Central School participated in an event to protect health and promote development in their community. With a goal of visually grasping the volume of people affected by secondhand smoke in an extreme way, students stuck 1,300 pinwheels outside of their school to represent the 1,300 innocent people who die every day from tobacco-related diseases.
Shelby Kurger, a student involved with the Kendall Reality Check group felt strongly about WNTD. “I want to be a part of the first tobacco-free generation. For every one person that quits or dies from smoking, two youth become a replacement. Don’t be a number.”
To reinforce that messaging, the youth built a WNTD sign with their pinwheel display. Instead of viewing the 1,300 as a statistic and feeling desensitized about the deaths occurring, they wanted to put into perspective what impact tobacco has in the United States alone on a daily basis.
Just a few days before the Kendall event, on May 26, the Reality Check group from Holley School sponsored a cigarette butt pick up and scan in Holley Village Park. According to WHO, up to 10 billion cigarettes are disposed of in the environment every day. Since tobacco waste contains over 7000 toxic chemicals, the environmental influence alone is astounding and part of the development issue that WHO based their WNTD theme on.
Reality Check and students from St. Joe’s School in Batavia were Chalked the Walk to promote no tobacco in their world. They also put up signage outside of school.
Reality Check is a teen-led, adult run program that seeks to prevent and decrease tobacco use around New York State. For more information about Reality Check, visit realitycheckofny.com.