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Youth Take Down Tobacco

(NewsUSA) – Advocates of all ages across the country join forces on April 1, Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action, to stand up and speak out against the tobacco industry.

Demonstrations, rallies and educational events are scheduled to expose how the tobacco industry targets kids with flavored, nicotine-filled products. Youth and adults are calling on federal, state and local officials to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

“When I finally realized that it wasn’t just cancer that killed my grandma, tobacco did, I started my tobacco prevention journey because I never wanted to see another person lose a loved one to tobacco,” says Neveah, a National Youth Ambassador with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which sponsors Take Down Tobacco.

The tobacco industry has a long history of using flavored products including e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars to appeal to children and other vulnerable groups. These flavors mask the harshness of tobacco products, making it easier for kids to start and ultimately become addicted.

“I’m shocked by the number of teens I see vaping who are vaping daily or even continuously. All of them are using minty, fruit flavors,” says Dr. Deepa Camenga, an addiction specialist with the American Academy of Pediatrics. “The products that are on the market have extremely high levels of nicotine and young people’s brains are particularly susceptible.”

A report of the U.S. Surgeon General found that, in addition to being highly addictive, nicotine can be harmful to child and adolescent brain development, especially the areas of the brain involved in learning, memory and attention. 

Although tobacco use among U.S. teens has decreased in recent years, the latest survey shows that 2.8 million middle and high school students still use tobacco products, including 2.1 million users of e-cigarettes.

“We’ve made tremendous progress in reducing youth tobacco use, but the tobacco industry is relentless in targeting our kids with flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored products. The FDA and  policymakers at every level of government should commit to removing all flavored tobacco products from the marketplace to protect our kids,” says Yolonda C. Richardson, President & CEO of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action is a time for communities to stand together against Big Tobacco’s efforts to addict another generation of kids,” she adds.

Take Down Tobacco is a national program of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to empower youth to create change in their communities, with the goal of achieving the first tobacco-free generation. To learn more, visit www.takedowntobacco.org.

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