Editor, Times-Union:

March 31st is Take Down Tobacco. This is a fresh take on Kick Butts Day and is the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ signature platform for empowering people to stand up and speak out against the tobacco industry.

Unfortunately, more than 1 in 5 Indiana high school students currently use a tobacco product, which is attributed to the growing use of e-cigarettes. Youth are also three times more sensitive to tobacco advertising, which is hard to ignore when the tobacco industry spends nearly $285 million a year in Indiana alone.

Wawasee High School’s VOICE team will be hosting the event at their school by collecting signatures to end the sale of flavored tobacco products (e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes, and flavored cigars) to send to local policymakers.

There are many proven ways to help protect young people from tobacco, including comprehensive community and statewide tobacco control programs, tobacco-free school polices and mass media campaigns. The newly released 2020 Surgeon General’s Report recommends taxing all tobacco products to increase prices. Youth are a price-sensitive population, and increasing the price of tobacco products has been proven effective in helping to reduce youth tobacco use.

Today’s youth have the potential to become the first tobacco-free generation – Take Down Tobacco is a great opportunity for our youth to be empowered and help themselves, and their peers, live tobacco free. Find resources and programs available to your family at Livewellkosciusko.org/breathewell.

Jessica Camarena

Adult Ally for Kosciusko VOICE

Warsaw, via email