Editor's note: The following is a press release.
Youth from joined more than 250 young people from across the Commonwealth to gather at the Massachusetts State House for a Kick Butts Day event to celebrate their role in reducing the influence of the tobacco industry in their communities.
While at the State House the youth visited with lawmakers, attended a rally with United States Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, and a closing event with Massachusetts Department of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Lauren Smith.
The young people used their time with lawmakers to discuss the ways the tobacco industry continues to target young people: through a range of new non-cigarette tobacco products, cheap prices, flashy packaging, and product placement in venues young people visit, including convenience stores near schools. The industry then prices the products cheaply to encourage impulse buys by youth. At the rally, each participant received a citation from the United States Surgeon General recognizing them for their efforts in fighting big tobacco in their communities.
"It is important for our lawmakers and the public to know that the tobacco industry is continuing to target our communities and youth," said John Nguyen, statewide planning committee member for The 84. "The 84 Chapters from across Massachusetts are working hard to highlight the dangers of tobacco use and to ensure that young people never start."
West Roxbury Academy is a member of The 84 Movement, which helps mobilize youth to take action to protect their communities from the influence of the tobacco industry. The event celebrated the work these young people are doing to fight back against the tobacco industry’s influence in their communities.
The 84 Movement is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program and managed by Health Resources in Action. For more information on The 84 Movement and the work being done throughout the Commonwealth to make smoking history, visit www.The84.org and www.makesmokinghistory.org.