Teens unite for tobacco-free Arizona

From: Eastern Arizona Courier

SAFFORD — The Great American Smokeout will take place Nov. 21.

The Great American Smokeout is a day when smokers are encouraged to quit for a day, quit for life. This year, members of Arizona’s statewide anti-tobacco youth coalition Students Taking a New Direction, better known as STAND, will take that one step further, urging Arizonans to “decide today for life-long-strong lungs.”

In partnership with the American Lung Association, STAND will be holding events throughout Arizona not only promoting the health impact of living and working in a smoke-free environment. STAND members are partnering with members of the American Lung Association’s Better Breather’s club to provide interactive demonstrations on how smoking can affect one’s lungs.

“When it comes to smoking and the health effects, it is usually cancer related problems that you hear about,” said Kailie Renovato, Graham County STAND coalition member. “We want to also remind people that smoking affects your lungs, too. But not just your lungs, it affects those around you, too.”

STAND members will also be showcasing their efforts to make their community smoke-free including working with local city councils to establish smoke-free parks and local colleges to go smoke-free. Stop by the Home Depot on Thursday, Nov. 21, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to show support of their effort.

“Parks are meant for everyone to enjoy,” said Renovato. “It’s not just the smoke; it’s also the cigarette butts that are left everywhere, even in the sandboxes.”

Community prep will occur as coalitions will display pledge walls in high-traffic areas for smokers and nonsmokers alike to either pledge to quit for the day or to never start. To further promote and draw attention to their cause, STAND members will change their personal and coalition Facebook profile photo to a singular image.

Participants are members of STAND, a statewide coalition of students ages 13-18 who work to not only raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use, but urge elected officials at all levels of government to treat cigarettes as hazardous materials — including creating regulations for storage, transport, sale and disposal. Visitwww.standaz.com for more information.

The Great American Smokeout is organized nationally by the American Cancer Society. It is held on the third Thursday of November each year. In Arizona, it is supported by the Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco & Chronic Disease.

The first Great American Smokeout was held in 1977.

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