Tessa Schwake- To the Editor

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To the editor:

Tobacco prevention happens on a local, national, and global level. From Youth Leadership Day to World No Tobacco Day, everyone can bring an end to tobacco use.

On May 6, the annual Eighth-Grade Tobacco Education and Youth Leadership Conference was held at EWALU in Strawberry Point. Approximately 60 students from 10 area schools were equipped with prevention messages to take back to their peers. During small breakout sessions, the students learned about Youth Advocacy, ISTEP (Iowa Students for Tobacco Education and Prevention), and Tobacco 101, which was facilitated by a group of West Central High School students.

Team-building was another big theme of the day. Through the EWALU ropes course, students were shown leadership opportunities to sustain and help their school anti-tobacco groups flourish.

One student commented, “I learned a lot while still having fun. I liked using teamwork and meeting new people during the ropes course.”

By building good relationships between schools and strengthening their own high school anti-tobacco group, these students can be more effective in encouraging their peers to be tobacco-free.

Your high school days may be far behind you, but you can still get involved in tobacco prevention. The World Health Organization states, “Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide.”

That is why World No Tobacco Day has been established and will take place on May 31. This year’s theme focuses on banning tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship. Join your county coalition group to counteract tobacco industry efforts. If you use tobacco, give it up or cut back for May 31. If you don’t use, be supportive of those around you who are trying or would like to quit. Encourage them to call Quitline, a free tobacco-cessation program for Iowans, (800) QUIT NOW, or visit www.quitlineiowa.com.

If everyone from youth to adults works together, we can build a tobacco-free community, nation, and world.

To get connected to a county coalition or a high school youth group, contact Tessa Schwake at Helping Services, (563) 387-1720.

Tessa Schwake

Helping Services for Northeast Iowa

 

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