Tobacco use is a multi-faceted problem that affects the health of everyone. However, my focus is preventing children from using tobacco. Children are our most vulnerable citizens when it comes to tobacco advertising and need an advocate to stand up for their health. They have been inundated with subtle tobacco advertisements that aim to make them think that smoking is okay. Since tobacco has many lifetime consequences, children need to learn at a very early age why smoking is harmful to their health and how they can resist the temptation to use cigarettes.
I have learned how to tailor tobacco prevention presentations to children through The Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) program. Through TATU, I have presented children with fun activities and information that served to prevent them from using tobacco.
I have used the crown as a means to speak with children in schools about the harmful effects of tobacco use. I had the opportunity to present the Ugly Face Contest at a local YWCA for children. To win the contest, children made “ugly faces” when they saw a smokers’ lung. I also read the story of Huff-n-puff, who is the big bad wolf who couldn’t blow the three little pigs homes over because he smoked cigarettes. I have helped children learn how to resist peer pressure, which is the primary reason why children choose to smoke. I have also helped them about the damage that tobacco does to their bodies, should they choose to smoke.
I have worked with Reality Check- an organization aimed at helping individuals become aware of smoking in Hollywood movies. Specifically, I was a guest speaker at a Reality Check Youth training program. I have also attended and will be attending Reality Check events in the future. I have used my positive experiences working to educate children about tobacco use to motivate other individuals to continue to spread the important message that tobacco is not healthy.
I will continue to be a positive role model by choosing to live a tobacco free lifestyle. America’s children need an advocate to fight for their health and that is my role as Miss Mohawk Valley.