Hello, my name is Katie Webb, and I am a senior at Portales High School. This is my first year on the leadership team, but my second year as a youth advocate through Evolvement. Evolvement is a student-led organization that supports two campaigns to keep New Mexico youth tobacco-free. No Minor Sale is one of the campaigns which we support as youth advocates in Evolvement, and it aims to educate New Mexicans about the dangers of flavored nicotine products and advocate for flavor restriction. Since this is my first year on the leadership team, I was able to attend the Evolvement New Mexico Leadership Team (ENMLT) Summit in July 2022. This experience was a total blast, but I want to talk specifically about my experience supporting No Minor Sale during the summit.
Since joining Evolvement in 2021, as a junior, I have become a very involved advocate in my school and community. I have attended the Peanut Valley Festival in Portales where I hosted a table, or booth, both days to collect surveys and educate about our campaign and the dangers of flavored nicotine products. I have also hosted tables at my school’s fall musical and spring play where I was able to discuss our goals and gain support for our campaign. At these events, I collected opinion surveys that allow community members to share their thoughts about nicotine products and the impact flavors have on today’s youth. I have measured this concern many times and I have seen that the majority of our community cares about this issue and wants to see our youth tobacco-free.
During the Leadership Team Summit this summer, we had an event where we went out into our community and collected as many surveys as possible within the span of an hour. We were split up into teams of advocates from across the state, and went to the mall in Albuquerque to collect opinion surveys from community members while they shopped. This experience taught me a lot about advocation in real-time, and how important it is to share our message with the public. There were those who declined filling out our survey, because they were busy, but most people were interested in our campaign and wanted to know more. Of course, this event was a competition between teams of leaders, so we were very passionate about speaking to the most people, educating them, and collecting their opinions. At the end of the hour, my team felt very confident about our achievements and were proud that we had spoken to so many people. Sharing information on something that you are passionate about is such a great feeling. I know that I am making a change, one survey at a time, and it shows through the passion in our community. When we returned to our hotel, the winner was announced and…we won!! Our team had collected more surveys than all of the other teams, and we were super proud of ourselves. Not only did we win the competition, but we spread awareness about our campaign goals and gained support from many community members which are so important for the No Minor Sale campaign.
The No Minor Sale campaign focuses on policy changes to make a difference at the point of sale. This campaign helped pass the Tobacco Act in 2021 which raised the legal age to buy nicotine products from 18 to 21, which was huge progress for our campaign! It is so important to have strong policies like this in place to keep our youth away from dangerous products they do not fully understand the risks of. One of the major things our campaign is now working towards is a restriction on flavors, including menthol. The main issue with nicotine products today is that the fun flavors that tobacco companies advertise are appealing to young students. It is easy to forget the dangers of the product when it tastes like Piña colada or peaches. The tobacco companies target our youth through advertisements of fun flavors, even cereal flavors, that kids are curious to try. This curiosity is so dangerous, which is why a restriction on flavors and further education about the dangers of nicotine products in schools are so important.
We have a problem in our communities with youth using nicotine products, specifically flavored ones. There is even a smoke shop in Portales that does not ID consumers, which allows kids as young as 7th grade to illegally purchase these dangerous items. We’re hoping that a restriction on flavors would lessen the appeal of nicotine products. The restrictions would help protect our youth by lowering the appeal and in turn, lowering the usage. I am passionate about this change because I do not want my generation to begin vaping with flavored e-cigarettes, and then transition to chain smokers because they cannot control their addiction. I want my generation to be the one who stops chain smoking because I want my generation to be healthy. Smoking is the number one leading cause of preventable death in the US and I do not want my generation to succumb to the effects of these dangerous products because they started in high school and could not stop as an adult.
Being an advocate for Evolvement and the No Minor Sale campaign has helped me realize how dangerous these products really are. I want my peers to understand the dangers and hopefully help keep them safe from the harm of these products. I want my peers to live long healthy lives, tobacco-free, which is why policy change is so important. As a youth advocate, I am fighting for policy change, and I know that I am helping make a difference. I strongly suggest any of my peers who want more education, or who want to fight for what is right, join Evolvement and help to advocate for the No Minor Sale campaign. The change that your advocacy can make is really astounding, and I am so proud that I have had the opportunity to be involved.
Hello, my name is Kailey Vasquez. I attend Mora High School and have been a part of the Evolvement team going on two years now. One of our Evolvement campaigns, No Minor Sale, made me want to advocate for keeping flavored tobacco away from youth. This is something that is super important to the Evolvement team. 90% of teenagers start using tobacco products only because of the flavor. The harmful effects of these products can cause many health issues like lung problems. Tobacco is also the number 1 leading cause in preventable death. This is why the Evolvement team is working so hard to ban the sale of flavored tobacco to minors.
I have had the opportunity to meet with legislators and talk to them about why flavored tobacco products should not be available to youth. The legislators really loved what my team and I had to present. We did this presentation with hopes that these lawmakers would help stop the sale of these products to youth. I have also done some events that allow my team and I to share more about No Minor Sale with our peers. I am from a small town so these products are easily accessible because everyone knows everyone. So, getting to interact with peers helps me show them how dangerous tobacco really is.
More people should care about ending illegal tobacco sales to minors because they are our future. They are still growing and having fun. They shouldn't have to deal with these harmful products and the consequences that come along with using them. Keeping tobacco products out of the hands of youth is important to me because I have younger cousins and I was a tutor to a lot of younger kids. I don't want to see them falling into the trap of tobacco. Youth have their whole future in front of them and tobacco products could mess that up. Stopping the illegal sale of flavored tobacco is something we need to do for our youths' future.
Hello my name is Jadyn and I go to Artesia High School. This is my second year in Evolvement and my first year in the leadership team. Evolvement is a youth-led organization. There are two main campaigns that Evolvement works on: 24/7 which aims to make every NM school 100% tobacco-free and No Minor Sale which aims to end the sale of nicotine and tobacco products to minors.
Flavored tobacco products are dangerous because they are highly addictive and very enticing to youth. Flavored tobacco products make vaping fun by having flavors like cotton candy, mango, grape, Piña Colada and Captain Crunch. All these flavors entice kids to try e-cigarettes because it tastes good instead of just having flavorless air. Studies have shown that 80% of youth who’ve used tobacco products started with a flavored product.
Since being in Evolvement, I’ve done two No Minor Sale partner presentations as well as a blog about my two presentations. My first presentation was in person to the Lions Club of Artesia which was a great experience. All the adults I presented to were very interested in the information I was telling them. Most of them didn’t know how big of an issue the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to minors really was. My second presentation took place via zoom to the Changing Lives Coalition, an organization aimed at helping kids. Like with my first presentation, the Changing Lives Coalition was also very interested in learning more about the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to minors. At the end of my presentation, they signed on to be a partner with No Minor Sale which is a huge win in my book!
Others need to know about ending the illegal sale to minors because it has become a growing issue. In 2019, 34% of New Mexico high school youth reported current use of e-cigarettes, which was the 3rd highest rate among U.S. states. The illegal sale to minors is not going to stop unless we as a community help to put restrictions in place. No Minor Sale is so important to me because I’ve seen the effects flavored tobacco products and tobacco products in general have on youth and how addictive it can be to youth. I also want to see change in the sale of tobacco and nicotine to minors to help youth avoid the devastating end of tobacco use.
My name is Gogo Salguero and as a Portales High School student, I have been working as a youth advocate with the Evolvement program for three years and have been on the Evolvement leadership team for two years.
Through No Minor Sale, one of the campaigns Evolvement works on, I have seen the harsh effects that flavored tobacco products have on the youth in my community. Sometimes, teens see flavored tobacco products as a luxury item that they are capable of obtaining. I have been able to speak with many community members and hear how these products have affected their family members, peers, and friends and why it is also important to them. I think that one defining characteristic is that we all want everyone to continue to live long, healthy lives.
Speaking at my local radio stations, KCLV 99.1FM & KTQM 99.9FM, taking part at a No Minor Sale table during the annual Portales Peanut Valley Festival, and partner presentations have given me so many opportunities to understand that this does go beyond their physical health as well as their current mental health and how this will have wide-ranging effects long term. At the 2021 Portales Peanut Valley Festival, it was so amazing to hear about how many people have quit smoking because of their children. Some also told me stories who have lost children due to lung cancer from tobacco use and will never again touch tobacco products. Many times we hear about these things from the children of smokers but never from the parents of smokers.
Adolescents are very intelligent individuals but make mistakes just like adults, and they should not have access to something that will have long lasting harmful effects.
Hi, my name is Anisa, and I am going into my sophomore year at Farmington High School. I joined Evolvement my freshman year, but this is my first year on the leadership team. Evolvement is a youth led organization that educates communities across New Mexico of tobacco use among youth. No Minor Sale is one of our campaigns, where we are working to ban the illegal sales of tobacco products to minors in New Mexico.
Not many teens know all the effects of using tobacco products at such a young age. The most common tobacco product used among teens are e-cigs. In fact, 97% of youth who vape cite that the variety of flavors is a key reason they started tobacco product use. Tobacco products cause anxiety, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Some long term effects are dental problems, respiratory conditions, heart disease, and even cancer.
For our No Minor Sale campaign, along with my friend and fellow Evolvement youth advocate, Danielle, I did a partner presentation. A partner presentation is when you work with a fellow Evolvement member to create a slideshow and present to a community organization. We did a presentation over zoom to the Farmington Boys & Girls Club. We gave information on what No Minor Sale is, and the dangers of using tobacco products. This was my first public speaking opportunity with Evolvement, and even though it was on zoom, it was a great experience. It is so important to start educating students at a young age so they are aware of the dangers.
Later in Spring 2022, Danielle and I also set up a table at the Bark in the Park Doggie Dash community event in Farmington where we collected many surveys from adults. Surveys are important because it gives us an idea of how much knowledge people have on the use of tobacco among minors, which can help pass laws.
Tobacco products are doing a lot of damage to our youth in New Mexico. We are seeing a rise in anxiety and depression in teens while grades in school are falling. I have one friend in particular who began vaping to deal with her anxiety, but her anxiety only got worse. Yet like I said, so many people, including teens and adults, are not educated on the dangers. By ending illegal tobacco sales to minors, we are creating a brighter future for our teens and generations to come. I know so many teens are struggling with addiction to e-cigs; ending the illegal sale of tobacco products will make a great impact on our community.
Hello, my name is Stephanie and I attend Mora High School. I've been in Evolvement going on two years now. Well, you're probably wondering what that is. Evolvement is a youth led movement in New Mexico to educate on the dangers of tobacco products. This year, I joined the leadership team and it's been a fun and amazing experience. We collect surveys and have 2 campaigns we work on through Evolvement. One campaign is No Minor Sale, through which we work to stop the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors.
I'm sure you are all aware of the dangers of tobacco products but did you know that 80% of tobacco users started with a flavored product? These products can be highly addictive and youth around the world are appealed to them. So, what's so bad about that? Well, for starters it's going to take so much away from you. Your health will diminish over time. Tobacco use can take away a chance at a healthy life and is also the leading cause of preventable death. In fact, it's so much in the lead that if you were to combine other top leading causes of preventable death, tobacco use would still be at the top! I mean do we really want non-functioning lungs or our teeth falling out?
I believe we can make a change for a better future. To make this possible, my team and I have met with legislators of our state. We showed them statistics and informed them of the dangers flavored tobacco products have on youth in hopes of getting them to favor our campaign. I've collected opinion surveys on tobacco flavored products as most people agreed to take the survey because they supported the idea while other people agreed to take the survey as they wanted to be nice. Either way, we have been able to use their opinions to help our case.
I think others should feel this is important because we should want what's best for us and our future. Minors should not be able to get their hands on these dangerous products as illegal tobacco product sales make it easier for teens to get addicted. By eliminating this, we can make a change for youth! It's important to me because I have seen first hand how bad an addiction can get and the outcomes. It truly hurts to see others paying the price that tobacco use brings. I care about my state and I want to see us succeed. It feels good to be part of the change and I hope you can support us and our youth.
On Thursday, May 5th, 2022, Evolvement high school youth advocate and Cuba High School senior, Adrianna Casaus, was awarded as a 2022 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Youth Advocate of the Year, one of five youth advocates across the entire country to receive this prestigious award.
Through No Minor Sale, Adrianna has conducted multiple educational partner presentations to community organizations to educate about the campaign advocacy focuses. Adrianna shares her experiences with No Minor Sale presentations below:
“I had the pleasure of leading an event called a No Minor Sale partner presentation. A partner presentation is an event in which we meet with a local organization and we educate them about the campaign that we are working on and ask them to partner with us. No Minor Sale works to gain support for policies that prevent youth from accessing tobacco at the point of sale. I reached out to the organization via email, the name of the organization is the Nacimiento Community Foundation, an organization in my community that works to provide resources for people in need as well as encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle. I connected with a board member of the foundation and they agreed to let me speak at their meeting to the rest of the board. We were able to give a short presentation to the board members about the work that No Minor Sale does. We then asked them if they would be interested in signing a commitment letter, this shows their support and partnership with No Minor Sale. This was a successful event because after the presentation, they agreed to sign the letter. When they sign we celebrate their commitment on social media, and their logo is posted to our website. These partnerships are important because it helps us show decision-makers that we have support all across the state by several organizations. This benefits us when advocating for policy change.”
Additionally, Adrianna worked toward and met with multiple state legislators in an effort to pass comprehensive retail licensing in New Mexico and said about the Tobacco Products Act the following:
“In 2021, we celebrated a great victory that we had been working towards for years. January 1, 2021, the Tobacco Products Act went into effect. This Act increased the legal age of tobacco use to 21 and required all retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco products in New Mexico. In the years leading up to the passing of this act, I and so many other advocates were gathering support cards with stories written by people all across New Mexico; these were called “Measures of Progress” or “MOPs”. We would show these to legislators so that they could see that we had support all across the state. The victory in 2021 was amazing but there is still much work to be done. As of right now, we have started the process of advocating for banning all flavored tobacco and nicotine products because this is what is luring in the next generation. I hope to continue to work to create policy change for a healthier New Mexico.”
No Minor Sale is extremely grateful for the numerous contributions Adrianna has made for the campaign!
Hello! My name is Shazmeen Kamran, I am currently a sophomore at Arrowhead Park Early College High School in Las Cruces, NM. I have been an active member in Evolvement for almost two years now! Evolvement is an advocacy group that works to end nicotine and tobacco addiction amongst New Mexico youth. As of right now, I am working to get my Associates Degree in Science, and plan on majoring in biology. My long-term goal is to go into cosmetic dermatology!
To achieve my goal, I am using my time in Evolvement to help me build on my public speaking skills, work comfortably with others, and interact with my community. I recently had the opportunity to work as a part of a team presentation to the Center of Health Innovation via Zoom to speak about No Minor Sale. No Minor Sale is a branch of Evolvement that focuses on marketing tactics of tobacco production that are used to target youth. The organization works on ending illegal sales to minors. The second branch of Evolvement is 24/7, which works to keep schools in a tobacco-free environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The unique part of this presentation was that we got to speak about Evolvement, 24/7, and No Minor Sale (the main focus).
This opportunity was a huge success for me and my fellow Evolvers. We spoke to the Innovation to inform them of our work in the two campaigns. At first it seemed intimidating knowing that we would be speaking to adults, but they were so friendly and genuinely interested in what we had to say. We shared statistics about nicotine addiction amongst youth and discussed the marketing tactics used by tobacco product companies. There came a point in the presentation where we were sharing our personal views on the current “landscape” of nicotine addiction in youth, and a story I shared caught their attention:
I went on a school trip to Albuquerque in early March, and we all went to Coronado Mall. While I was wandering through the mall with friends I was observing the kiosks placed in the center of the halls. We came across a candy kiosk, which was bright and colorful, with varying sweets from chocolates, and toffees, to pixie stix, Laffy Taffy, and Skittles and so much more. The entire display stood out and the counters were placed low for children to be able to see. But placed right next to it was a vape kiosk. Similarly, the counters were low, and there were transparent displays with brightly packaged e-cigarettes. There were kid-friendly flavors like cherry, lemon, etc. Colors like pink, blue, red, yellow, you name it. It was disturbing to see children wandering two feet away from the candy kiosk to look at these “attractive” vapes. It was a scary experience, but also reminded me of why No Minor Sale’s work is so important.
The members in the Zoom were just as concerned and continued to ask us questions. I think hearing the youth’s perspective had such a huge impact on the adults. I had the opportunity to share with them what I was seeing, how my generation was being affected, and why it’s such an important topic. In the end they were all pleased with our presentation and willing to work with us in the future.
This presentation was so wholesome. I not only got to share my opinion about nicotine addiction amongst youth, but I had the opportunity to interact with my fellow Evolvers and build my confidence in speaking with others. I learned that reaching out to people is the only way to make a difference. By having this opportunity, I realized that people are willing to listen and willing to take a step forward and reach out to help. This was also my first time working with No Minor Sale, and I feel so much more educated about underage tobacco sales to minors, and am grateful that I got to share the information with others.
Greetings! My name is Chelsea Pritchard. Currently, I am a first-year Master's student at New Mexico State University studying public health. In the future, I hope to be employed in healthcare management and policy. Recently, I participated in No Minor Sale’s second annual Take a Stand Day virtually, which is a day dedicated to raising awareness to state legislators, such as senators and representatives about preventing youth access to tobacco products and educating about the dangers of flavored tobacco products. I initially became interested in volunteering through No Minor Sale because people I know have battled tobacco addiction, and I have seen the toll it takes on both their physical and mental health. Tobacco addiction can have lifelong impacts and I want to help prevent this problem for future generations.
Through Take a Stand Day, myself, other volunteers, and the campaign manager Michael met with several state legislators, including senators and representatives like Senator William P. Soules, Representative Nathan Small, Representative Raymundo Lara, and Representative Angelica Rubio. We were given the opportunity to present and discuss the importance of strong tobacco-free policies that impact New Mexico youth and speak on tobacco product prevention strategies, such as restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products from those selling and providing these products like retailers and manufacturers.
From this experience, I learned that getting in touch with key decision-makers is important since it allows us to increase awareness to people who have the power to affect lasting change. In my first meeting with Senator William P. Soules from District 37 in Doña Ana County, I felt slightly intimidated because I had never spoken to a ‘politician’ before. As it turned out, he and the others were all very pleasant and accessible. At the end of the ten minute presentations, there was time for a Q&A and all of the legislators were engaged and asked meaningful questions which made me feel really heard. As a result of this experience, I learned that state legislators are sensitive to their constituents' needs and problems, and they are receptive to hearing about our community's concerns. I also learned more about the government and the legislative process and have become more comfortable with public speaking.
I believe that events like Take a Stand Day can empower students and volunteers to become changemakers themselves. Overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet with state legislators, and I was very happy to take part in Take a Stand Day. I look forward to doing it again next year!
My name is Jadyn. I’m a junior at Artesia High School and I’ve been in Evolvement since October of 2021. Evolvement is a statewide movement trying to prevent and control nicotine and tobacco use in New Mexico. I get to work on No Minor Sale which is a campaign that’s a part of Evolvement which advocates restricting the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to minors. I have a few ideas for my future career but the main career path I’m interested in is becoming a therapist where I hope to help teens. I also hope to help with the high schools in my future community and bring light to the selling and use of nicotine and tobacco products to minors. Since being in Evolvement I’ve gotten the opportunity to present about No Minor Sale to two organizations in Artesia who both strive to help minors.
The first presentation I did was to the Artesia Lions Club, a nonprofit organization, whose purpose is to help and serve the community around them. For the Lions Club presentation, I had the opportunity to do it in person. The next presentation I did was to the Changing Lives Coalition located in Artesia whose purpose is to help strengthen our community through prevention, intervention, and treatment services to help create a safe and healthy environment. Sadly, for this presentation, I had to do it over zoom.
For both presentations, I presented about the prevention of nicotine and tobacco sales to minors and educating people on the dangers of flavors in tobacco products. These two presentations actually were the first campaign opportunities to happen in Artesia and the Changing Lives Coalition is the first organization to be a No Minor Sale campaign partner in Artesia! I got great feedback from both organizations and they were both really interested in how the nicotine and tobacco industry affected my school. I was really nervous going into both presentations but at the end of the day, I’m so glad I got the opportunity to present on this predicament.
In doing both presentations, I got the chance to learn more about Evolvement and the No Minor Sale campaign as well as why it’s so vital that we reduce the illegal sale of tobacco and nicotine products to minors. I also was able to face my fear of public speaking head-on and learn that public speaking isn’t that scary. I hope if we can successfully end the sale of these products to minors, maybe we can help in the risk of teens getting addicted to nicotine and tobacco products. Another law that needs to be changed is preemption which restricts local governments from having the power to change local tobacco policies in their cities. If we can start to tear down preemption then maybe local change can help to influence change at a state level. Even though there has been some movement there still is a long way to go to get real change in New Mexico.
Hi! My name is Sarette Patrick, I am 15 years old, and a junior at Pecos Cyber Academy, an online charter school. I currently live in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I have been a part of Evolvement and No Minor Sale since I was a sophomore.
Evolvement is a program that works to involve youth in creating better communities for themselves and others and gives them a voice to speak out on issues important to them and issues that affect them. Through Evolvement, I work on No Minor which works to ban the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors and educating about the dangers of flavored tobacco products because they are found to be especially tempting to this age group.
In my sophomore year, I was a bit too scared to participate in big events, and really just stuck to collecting Measures of Progress (MOPs). MOPs are surveys collected from the public which ask for their opinions on topics like tobacco use in schools and of flavored tobacco products. The No Minor Sale campaign MOP is an opinion survey on flavored tobacco products and data collected from the survey gives us an idea of public belief surrounding the topic.
This year, my junior year, in early December 2021, I was given the amazing opportunity to present about the work of No Minor Sale to the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board. I decided to take the chance because I wanted to work on my public speaking skills, and I wanted to put myself out there and try to make a change in my community.
The Otero County Juvenile Justice Board is a program working to improve the lives of youth living in Otero County and keep them out of the probation system. As the name suggests, the people a part of this program want to help guide the teens in their county to make good life decisions, gain a good education, and stay away from harmful things like tobacco products. They provide resources like tutoring, and they partner with programs to help their cause.
The presentation I gave was with the purpose of informing the Justice Board of No Minor Sale’s work. We talked about the reasons we focus on flavored tobacco products (because they are the main type of product youth are attracted to), and we gave current specific data on cigarette and other tobacco product use in Otero County compared to New Mexico (did you know that Otero County had a higher percentage of youth using any tobacco product compared to the entirety of NM?). Also, we talked about the loopholes in laws that allow companies to still get away with selling products that youth find especially attractive (for example, only banning certain flavors). But that’s not all. We discussed how there is so much more work to be done in the prevention of flavored tobacco product sales to youth, and ways that change can be made. For example, we can put more power into local communities by removing preemption. This way, the ban of flavored tobacco products can be made from more local levels. Taking small steps, city by city, would help in the bigger picture of restricting the sale of all flavored tobacco products. To conclude the presentation, I focused on how action can be taken from an individual level- like becoming a No Minor Sale volunteer.
This experience was very rewarding for me. I feel I actually made an impact in my community. The presentation went great, and the people of the Juvenile Justice Board were so willing to listen and learn all about the program. I answered the questions they had after the presentation, and I told them what brought me into advocating for this cause through Evolvement. However, I did not just make a great impact in my community- I also made an impact on myself. I have so much more confidence in my public speaking abilities, and my abilities to take action and take initiative. I feel like I left the presentation with a stronger belief in myself and my potential. All the fear I had at the beginning of the presentation was gone after a few minutes. The people were amazing and so open to what I had to say. They complimented my hard work and told me I should be proud of myself for what I was doing. They even invited me to stay the rest of their meeting, and to attend future Juvenile Justice Board meetings to hear about all else that was going on in Otero County.
I hope future work can bring much more change to New Mexico in the fight to restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products. I also hope the percentage of youth using tobacco products in Otero County and all of NM can significantly decline in the years ahead. I hope more efforts are made to tighten the restrictions in place for the sale of tobacco to minors. Who knows, maybe what I did could be a step in helping save one teen from buying their first tobacco product, and possibly preventing a future addiction.
I know that if another opportunity like this comes my way, I will pounce on it. So many good things came from what I did, and just knowing that makes me feel empowered. I as a teen can make a difference. I can make change happen in my community, and you can too! It isn’t hard at all!
Hi! My name is Maya Patrick, I live in Las Cruces, and I am a junior at Pecos Cyber Academy. I have been a part of Evolvement for about two years.
My time in Evolvement has given me so many opportunities to spread awareness about tobacco-use in my community and truly make a difference. Evolvement is a youth-engagement program that advocates for healthier communities, and the No Minor Sale campaign works to reduce tobacco sales to minors by focusing on the sale of flavored tobacco products (as they can be especially tempting to youth). I would love to work in the medical field one day and Evolvement has given me the platform to already make a difference concerning the health of youth in my community. Even as a high-schooler, I can work to educate youth about the effects of tobacco products on their health, and to promote initiatives that will reduce the sale of flavored tobacco products to these minors.
Recently, in early December 2021, I was given the opportunity to present about the No Minor Sale campaign to the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board. The Otero County Juvenile Justice Board is a group of volunteers who work to reduce the amount of youth in the juvenile probation system through advocacy and educational programs. I knew this presentation was a great way to spread the impact of the No Minor Sale campaign. The No Minor Sale campaign works to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to minors, as well as educate and raise awareness about the dangers of these tobacco products for youth. I presented to the board alongside my sister, and we discussed the objectives of the No Minor Sale campaign, as well as the harmful effects of tobacco products on New Mexico’s youth.
Weeks ahead of the meeting, my sister and I discussed major talking points and prepared for the presentation. We focused especially on the importance of limiting the accessibility of flavored tobacco products, because they are notably more tempting for youth. Our goal for the presentation was for the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board to sign on as a partner with No Minor Sale because we wanted to expand the impact of our campaign to benefit Otero County youth. During the presentation, which took place on Zoom, we explained why it would benefit youth in Otero County if the board signed on with No Minor Sale. We hoped that by partnering with the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board, we could reduce the accessibility of tobacco products for these youth.
I was nervous for the presentation because I really wanted the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board to sign on with our campaign. However, the presentation went really well, and I was excited to answer the great questions that the members of the board posed after the meeting. I was overjoyed with how well the presentation went and I felt like I was genuinely able to make a difference in my community.
I am truly happy that I was able to take part in this presentation because I feel that it was a great step towards producing tangible change in the reduction of tobacco-use among New Mexico youth. I believe that reducing youth accessibility to tobacco products statewide will happen through the individual steps that organizations like No Minor Sale take towards tackling this issue, and I am proud to have contributed towards this objective in Otero County.
In the process of writing the presentation, I actually learned quite a bit about the harmful effects of tobacco products on youth and about the targeted advertisements used by the tobacco industry towards minors. I definitely feel more informed, but I am also more confident in my public-speaking abilities. This was such a rewarding experience and I hope I can continue to make progress with No Minor Sale towards protecting youth from the dangers of tobacco products.
My name is Kaylynn Belew and I am a sophomore at Portales High School. This is my second year participating in Evolvement and my first year on the leadership team. Evolvement’s goal is to educate community members and students on the harmful effects of tobacco use and flavored products. Students also promote tobacco-free school policies and ending the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors in New Mexico.
One of Evolvement’s campaigns is No Minor Sale. This campaign works to reduce the sale of tobacco products/flavored products to minors and educate our communities. The No Minor Sale campaign and its volunteers pushed to get the Tobacco Products Act signed into law last year. The Act increased the minimum age of legal sale of tobacco products to 21 years old in the state of New Mexico. The Tobacco Products Act also created new licensing requirements for retailers. No Minor Sale’s new focus is on flavored tobacco products and their effect on minors. Flavored tobacco products are far more appealing to minors compared to regular tobacco. 97% of teenagers who vape use flavored products and use that as a key reason to start using tobacco products.
The impact of tobacco use and flavored products on youth and communities across the nation is negative. People are putting their health and others’ health at risk. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, each year approximately 7,330 people die from lung cancer via second-hand smoke. And about 33,950 people die of heart disease caused by someone else smoking. Tobacco use also has an environmental impact on our communities. Air pollution and cigarette litter are both examples. We can all play a part in improving our homes and communities, to better the lives of the next generations.
Based on statistics, if we restrict flavored products, the number of people suffering from nicotine addiction will drop dramatically. That 97% of teenagers wouldn’t have a reason to use tobacco products. I believe that people my age need to focus on grades and enjoying their teenage years, rather than fighting addiction.
Hello! My name is Rabiya Khadijah Kamran, and I am a senior at Arrowhead Park Early College High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I have been in Evolvement for about two years now, and this is my first year on the Leadership Team.
After I graduate high school, I plan on furthering my education throughout college and medical school. My goal is to become a neurologist in the far future. However, after graduation, I have decided that I would like to become a volunteer with No Minor Sale. A few weeks ago, I completed a virtual partner presentation with Adrianna Casaus, who is a fellow Evolver from Cuba, New Mexico. We had the opportunity to present to the Southwest Tribal Tobacco Coalition, which was an amazing and informative experience.
The Southwest Tribal Tobacco Coalition is an organization that works to enhance tribal efforts to address the use of commercial tobacco. The focus of our presentation to them was explaining what our campaign does/has done and eventually convince them to sign on with No Minor Sale as a partner, which we did achieve. The presentation was very exciting and the tribal coalition was amazing as well! I was really nervous before the presentation since I haven’t done one before, but the environment was super welcoming! They participated and contributed to our discussions about the use of commercial tobacco products and how it has increased among youth. A large portion of our conversation had to do with highlighting the fact that we are working on restricting the sale of commercial tobacco products to youth, which is particularly important to this group because we are not banning ceremonial or sacred tobacco, which is used in tribal communities. After the presentation, I felt really accomplished and I felt like we had a good conversation with different people about the importance of restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products.
After our presentation was over, the Southwest Tribal Tobacco Coalition agreed to sign on with the campaign as a partner, which is really exciting and gives us a lot of hope for the future of our campaign! I learned so much from this experience! I definitely brushed up on my public speaking and I learned how to not just present information but how to have real conversations about issues with tobacco. I also gained valuable insight about how the tribal communities feel about their youth using commercial tobacco products. By giving this presentation, I feel like my partner and I were both able to educate and convince them to be part of a statewide movement to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products. I hope that this convinces other similar organizations to join us as well on our mission to make change. One day, I hope that No Minor Sale will be able to make change for our entire state, and maybe encourage others to do the same.
Hello! My name is Chelsea Pritchard, and I am originally from Portland, Oregon, where I went to Portland State University and earned a B.S. in Health Science. Currently, I live in Las Cruces, where I am a first-year Master of Public Health Student at New Mexico State University. So far, I love living in the New Mexico sunshine! I have recently become a new adult volunteer, and I am very excited about this opportunity to inform fellow New Mexicans about the goals surrounding No Minor Sale.
While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I worked at my university to encourage a smoke-free campus. I viewed this as important because everyone should have the opportunity to learn in a clean air environment. Through that experience, I realized just how prevalent and addicting tobacco products are. I've seen friends and relatives struggle with tobacco addiction and the toll it takes on their physical and mental health.
As a big sister and aunt, I want to do what I can to help make sure the next generation is as healthy and joyful as possible. We know that many smokers initially begin consuming when they are teenagers, which makes the tobacco companies happy because they can become regular customers as they get older. With alluring fruit and candy flavors, it has become easier than ever to try tobacco products for the first time, and these companies prey on that.
Young people must be given every opportunity to be just that- YOUNG! We should all care about addressing flavors in tobacco products and tobacco prevention to minors because it can have potential lifelong impacts. This is why I believe in the No Minor Sale Campaign because it works to hold people accountable and prevents these products from making their way into the wrong hands. As tobacco companies continue to advertise and become even more clever with their flavors and marketing, it is increasingly vital that we work just as hard together as a community to prevent potentially lifelong addiction issues. Preventing tobacco use improves communities and life quality which is good for us all.
My name is Cali Walker and I am a senior at Portales High School. This is my fourth year with Evolvement and my third on the leadership team. Evolvement works with a campaign called No Minor Sale to achieve more specific goals within the program.
No Minor Sale’s first goal is to educate New Mexicans about the dangers of flavored tobacco products. With flavors like strawberry, apple, chocolate, bubble gum, and vanilla among others. tobacco sellers make their product appear less harmful, and more appealing to teens. According to the CDC, flavored tobacco, with its pleasant taste, is more addictive than regular tobacco products. On the CDC website, I also found a study that reported most youth who use tobacco products started with a flavored product, and these flavors are a major reason they continue to use tobacco products.
When I started working with Evolvement a few years ago, I approached my peers about their stance on flavored tobacco products. An overwhelming amount of them told me that e-cigarettes were not that bad for you and don’t actually contain nicotine. At the time, I wasn’t very educated on the effects of e-cigarettes and felt like these statements were just too good to be true. Later that day, I researched information about e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products the found the following information: “A recent CDC study found that 99% of the e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the United States contained nicotine. Some e-cigarette labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine, and some e-cigarettes marketed as containing 0% nicotine have been found to contain nicotine”.
I knew that nicotine was addictive and could cause harmful effects to the body. My classmates thought of these flavored products as something fun and popular to do. They didn’t know or simply didn’t care about the harmful and long-term effects of these products. This made me realize how important tobacco education is.
I want to help spread awareness about the danger of flavored tobacco use and keep these harmful products out of the hands of uninformed minors. With Evolvement, I have been able to do just that. I’ve been with the No Minor Sale campaign for almost four years and this program has given me the opportunity to learn and to lead. I have traveled to the state capital to talk to lawmakers, have led student recruitment events, talking with people in my community about tobacco, and learned a lot about what it means to advocate.
My name is Alisa Doan and I’m a new volunteer with No Minor Sale aiming to stop the sale of tobacco products to minors with my health promotion skills! For example, developing a program with an emphasis on the Ecological model, that focuses on health promotion, to address the risks of using tobacco and prevent tobacco related diseases. I’m originally from Houston, Texas and now I am here in Las Cruces. I am a recent graduate from New Mexico State University; I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and a minor in Business Administration.
What got me inspired to act was how I saw people around me smoking a lot! Then I discovered that New Mexico has adult smoking rates that is higher compared to the national average. On top of that we have a high percentage of high school students smoking! I aspire to be an epidemiologist; I believe that because of the recent pandemic, epidemiology has become more crucial in the fight to end any more fatalities and increase awareness and prevention efforts. I wanted to become an epidemiologist because I want to be on the front lines researching and preventing diseases. Although there have been large scale policy changes in tobacco like restrictions of sales to minors, e-cigarettes licensing (aka more regulations), and smoke free indoor laws, there is still much to do and achieve.
A close friend of mine still smokes menthol cigarettes (I’m slowly persuading her to quit). She spoke to me on youth access laws; but establishments being required to post signs prohibiting tobacco sales to minors or raising the age of all tobacco sale products to 21 is not effective enough. From her experience, establishments are supposed to confirm the ages of individuals that buy tobacco and employees didn’t bother to check her ID! I think policy makers should consider a budget to give establishments so they can plan, develop, and implement programs and trainings to educate employees on the regulations of tobacco sales to minors.
I think e-cigarette usage is one of many coping strategies that young adults and minors gravitate toward to relieve stress, and many are unaware of the dangers of e-cigarette usage. For example, a 2mL pack of e-liquid has nicotine that is equivalent to 20 cigarettes, or an entire pack. Additionally, using e-cigarettes, with their various chemicals and toxins, is linked to asthma, lung inflammation, and COPD.To top it all off, e-cigarette manufacturers have an evil but brilliant marketing tactic where the e-cigarettes have different flavors that appeal to both minors and adults.
I think restricting the sale of flavors in tobacco products will only decrease vaping usage and sales short term, but in the long term it won’t be enough. Therefore, only proper support and funding will make any impact; I believe with the right campaign, program, and awareness, individuals will consciously stay away from tobacco products in general. Also, for those who are vaping and using tobacco, the campaign would inform them enough to be willing to make a change in improving their health. I joined No Minor Sale to raise awareness of illegal tobacco sales to minors and improve the overall health of New Mexicans.
My name is Jazelle and I attend Los Lunas High school as a junior. I joined the Evolvement leadership team to better myself and grow as a person. I’ve been in Evolvement for a short period of time but since joining, through No Minor Sale, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a community event and a group partner presentation with the Bernalillo County Community Health Council.
During the presentation, I was pushed to step out of my comfort zone and speak to an audience of people about No Minor Sale. The whole preparation taught me how to better compose myself and I picked up pointers on how to present a slideshow. My confidence in my ability to present and speak publicly grew and this is something that helped in my later event and hopefully more events to come.
The most recent event I’ve attended was an in person one. The Juneteenth event held on June 19th at the Civic Plaza in Albuquerque was the first in person event I have done. It was excruciatingly hot outside but I was accompanied by a good friend. In this event we were required to talk and communicate to and with people in order to get surveys filled out. We came in contact with many different types of people and surprisingly, we came across a few teachers within the crowd that were more than willing to help with our cause. But with that, there were also a few people who needed a little more convincing. However, we couldn’t convince them all to take the survey and that’s ok, maybe next time more people will want to participate.
Overall, the event was fun as it had its perks and it had its downsides but from the event I learned how to deal with people and situations pertaining to them. Evolvement has been a blast thus far and I’m stoked for all the future events and milestones to come!
In 2019, 34% of high school students in New Mexico used e-cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days, higher than the national rate of 27.5%. In the same year, 8.9% of New Mexico high school students smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days, higher than the national rate of 5.8%.1,2 We know that the younger you are when beginning tobacco product use, the more likely it is that it will become a lifelong addiction.
It’s important to prevent youth from accessing tobacco and have laws in place that allow all levels of government, federal, state and local, to make laws towards tobacco prevention. But oftentimes, higher levels of government have the authority to limit, or even eliminate, the power of a lower level of government to regulate a certain issue. This concept is called preemption.3
In New Mexico, when it comes to certain types of tobacco prevention policy, there is preemption but specifically, ceiling preemption. This ceiling preemption means that lower levels of government in New Mexico are prohibited from requiring anything more than or different from what the state government requires pertaining to these certain types of tobacco prevention policies.3 By preventing local municipalities from passing stricter regulations, local communities are unable to protect their youth from the dangers of tobacco products.. It also means that New Mexico communities must await for statewide tobacco prevention policy change, a much longer process.
Starting in the 1980’s, the tobacco industry saw the rapid increase in local smoke-free air laws and wanted to prevent local communities from continuing to pass these and other types of innovative tobacco prevention policies.4 So, they began including preemption language in state legislative bills, including in New Mexico in 1993.5
Tobacco preemption exists in three main categories:6licensure, smokefree air and youth access. Table 1 tracks how New Mexico and the U.S. stand with the three aforementioned main tobacco preemption categories.
Table 1: Any Type of Tobacco Preemption Landscape
New Mexico Preempted?
U.S. States Preempted?
The one area of tobacco preemption that New Mexico is facing, ceiling preemption on youth access, is one nearly half of the United States also face. But what exactly does youth access mean? Table 2 breaks that down.
Table 2: Youth Access Local Tobacco Preemption Landscape7
Sales to Youth
New Mexico Preempted?
U.S. States Preempted?
In New Mexico, removing preemption with youth access, and specifically with sales to youth, would allow for innovative and impactful point-of-sale tobacco prevention policies to be passed, locally. These include capping the number of tobacco retailers in your New Mexico locality, and restricting the sale of certain or all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, among other possibilities.
Repealing Preemption is important to our efforts in tobacco control because:
Public Health, including tobacco control and prevention, is local! Change often starts from the bottom up with concerned citizens.
Local control allows local law enforcement agencies or health agencies, depending on how the law is written, to conduct compliance checks against sales of tobacco products to minors in their communities.
Every city, town, and community is unique and faces its own challenges when it comes to tobacco use. Allowing localities to address policy change as they see fit in their own locality can help create more equitable communities.
Repealing preemption can be a long process, but addressing preemption is crucial to protect New Mexico youth and save lives from the ills of tobacco products, including e-cigarette and vapor products. New Mexico is a very unique and vast state. From Albuquerque to Las Cruces, and from Farmington to Portales, every community faces its own, unique challenges. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in New Mexico and tobacco product use but impacts some localities and counties much more than others. When it comes to protecting New Mexicans, and especially New Mexican youth, shouldn’t individuals from New Mexico’s cities, towns, and communities, who best know their communities, have the ability and resources to locally address tobacco issues in order to save lives?
2019 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS). http://youthrisk.org/pdf/connections/YRRS_Connections_v7n2_July%202020_Tobacco%20Trends%202019_071420.pdf
Products, C. F. (n.d.). NYTS. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/youth-and-tobacco/youth-tobacco-use-results-national-youth-tobacco-survey
Images, P. D., Kellett, G., Gigi KellettGigi Kellett is managing director for Corporate Accountability, &, A. K., Shaw, D., Woronczuk, A., & Hoeffner, M. K. (2020, July 25). The Food Industry Puts Profits Over Public Health Using Big Tobacco's Playbook. Retrieved from https://truthout.org/articles/the-food-industry-puts-profits-over-public-health-using-big-tobaccos-playbook/
Hello, my name is Tearza Valencia and I’m a junior at Grants High School. I’m in my first year of Evolvement, an organization that empowers young people to advocate for healthier lifestyles. I joined this movement because I know my generation is being targeted by the tobacco industry. I want my peers to make better choices to create a healthier, tobacco-free New Mexico. Although I recently joined Evolvement at the beginning of this year, I already have many experiences to share! For example, I gave a virtual No Minor Sale Partner Presentation to the Cibola County Health Council in mid-March of 2021 during their quarterly zoom meeting.
The No Minor Sale campaign focuses on eliminating minor use of tobacco, and more specifically, flavored tobacco products. Teens in my community are constantly using flavored products such as Puff Bars and Juul Pods but are unaware of how addictive they can be. My peers are even less educated about how nicotine use can turn into long-term tobacco use. Therefore, increasing awareness of this issue is relevant in my community.
Another Evolver from Grants High School, Jorge Mendez, and I were invited to present the No Minor Sale campaign to about ten Cibola County Health Council members that attended the meeting. Fun fact, this was the first No Minor Sale campaign opportunity in our hometown of Grants. We both dressed semi-formal to accommodate the meeting’s formality. Our presentation lasted about twenty minutes. We explained the campaign and its objectives to raise awareness, demonstrate concern, and collect opinions on flavored tobacco products. We even collected eight valid opinion surveys from the health council about flavored tobacco use! It’s important to collect data about public opinion on this issue because it shows that the public cares. I prepared for the meeting on Monday with the campaign manager Michael Kelly. We went over every slide in the PowerPoint and I continued practicing until Thursday. After the presentation, I felt grateful to have had the opportunity to discuss and participate in an important meeting. Collecting support cards and adding the Grants Public Library as a partner to the campaign was a great conclusion to the presentation.
From this experience, I gained more confidence in myself as a speaker and more trust in my council as a member of their community. This benefits the campaign because I feel more comfortable raising awareness in my county. I know we’ll have the council’s support in the NMS campaign’s endeavors. I hope youth will be regularly included in the options considered and the decisions made by our community’s health council. For my community, this might mean better protection from everything harmful to us and our environment.
Hello! My name is Sarah Granio, and I am a first-year volunteer with No Minor Sale. I am currently a Sophomore at New Mexico State University studying Agriculture and Extension Education and I hope to be a high school ag teacher in the future! Originally, I am from Mesa, Arizona so there was definitely a learning curve that I had to meet about the differences in tobacco policy as I transitioned from Arizona over to New Mexico.
As a volunteer, I have had a few awesome opportunities become available to me through No Minor Sale, namely the ability to put on programs at my school and attend summits with high school youth advocates, New Mexico Department of Health officials, and even state legislators. At the beginning of March, I was also able to participate with fellow No Minor Sale Volunteer Eliana Ruiloba in putting on a 45-minute partner presentation for No More New Mexico. It was my first partner presentation as a volunteer with No Minor Sale, so I was justifiably nervous about how it would go, but it ended up being a fantastic experience!
The partner presentation brought me face-to-face with an amazing group of people from No More New Mexico, who are serving their communities and working with college campuses to make positive changes to tobacco policies. Eliana and I gave the presentation on Microsoft Teams which was definitely a first for us both, but outside of a few minor technical difficulties, we were still able to communicate our own experiences surrounding youth tobacco use and give all the information we had to our audience. We presented to a small group from No More New Mexico about recent successes with tobacco retail licensing and our current efforts towards banning flavored tobacco products. We ended up collecting four more opinion surveys on flavored tobacco products by the time we were done! They did a fantastic job engaging with Eliana and I, asking us questions about the campaign and our own experiences from high school and NMSU.
Being able to have those conversations with No More New Mexico was the most impactful part of the entire experience for me. They asked us questions because they were interested and wanted to know more, which served to encourage me to answer and not be so shy about speaking to a group of strangers. At the end of the day, it was an excellent opportunity for me to work on my public speaking skills and network with an organization that I might even have the chance to work with again in the near future which is definitely exciting.
Eliana and I were lucky enough to present to a group that was interested in joining No Minor Sale as a campaign partner before we even showed up in their meeting room. Knowing that they would be supportive ahead of time certainly eased some of my worries about having to present to a stone-cold audience, but I understand that not everyone will have the same experience. Despite that, I still think it is vitally important for volunteers to pursue these opportunities to speak to the community through No Minor Sale. In the coming months I am excited to see what kind of virtual events No Minor Sale can put on here at NMSU and what kind of support we can find in the students and faculty living on campus.
I can admit to having my hesitations about doing partner presentations and struggling my way through them. Now that I’ve made it through my first presentation, and crushed it according to Michael, the No Minor Sale Campaign Manager, I found that I am a lot more confident in my speaking skills and presenting ability. I even surprised myself with the amount of knowledge I have about New Mexico’s tobacco policies and recent achievements.
The more events that I participate in, the more I learn. Because of that, I would encourage other volunteers and youth leaders to keep getting involved. Even though we don’t have the best platforms to advocate on right now, there are still opportunities to grow professionally and knowledge-wise. The No Minor Sale community is incredibly supportive, and everyone has had unique experiences both big and small. If you’re just starting out or unsure about signing up as a volunteer, don’t forget that there are volunteers like me who are here to support you!
My name is Genoveva Gallegos, but most people call me Genny. I am from Tucumcari, New Mexico and I am a Junior at Pecos Connections Academy. This is my third year in the Evolvement youth engagement program but this is my first year on the leadership team. This is my third year working on the No Minor Sale Campaign.
The media is where everything happens whether it be social media or the newspaper (Quay County Sun). Getting the message about No Minor Sale through the media is important because I can spread the word about tobacco franchises and stores selling to minors so we can help prevent minors from becoming addicted to the product and continue using it through their adult lives. I can help spread the word by posting on my platforms I have an account in or going down to my local newspaper and asking if I could put an entry to spread the word.
Because of the No Minor Sale Campaign, I have helped advocate for ending the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors and for statewide Tobacco Retail Licensing, which ensures that all tobacco retail stores acquire a license to sell tobacco products. I have talked to many people to spread awareness of No Minor Sale locally. I haven’t spread the word through the media in my community yet, but this coming year and possibly in the future, I plan on doing my best to spread the word about No Minor Sale and our mission to end sales of tobacco products to minors for a community that’s safer for the coming generations to live in.
Working with the No Minor Sale Campaign has taught me that media is one of the biggest platforms used to spread the word about the things we work towards and it is a very important step to take when spreading awareness. I would definitely encourage other students to join in working with No Minor Sale because they could gain social interaction and public speaking skills. It also allows students to help spread the word a lot more about how to create a world where minors aren’t growing up addicted to these dangerous tobacco products and to ensure that the right laws are in place. Using media platforms to spread awareness is one of the biggest things we can do because it’s a way of spreading the word about No Minor Sale and our mission to stop illegal tobacco sales to minors.
Hello, my fellow New Mexicans! My name is Kris Melendez. I’m currently a sophomore attending Gadsden High School located in Anthony, NM. This is my first year in Evolvement. Evolvement works towards a decrease in the use of harmful and addictive tobacco in New Mexico, being the largest youth engagement movement in the state. Through Evolvement, I work on the No Minor Sale Campaign.
As many of you can assume, the use of tobacco products, especially flavored tobacco products, is pretty common amongst teens like me, which is why stronger policies need to be put in place. Because of this, the No Minor Sale Campaign has begun working on restricting flavored tobacco products, such as mint and menthol.
All too often, I’ve witnessed my peers spend their time and money on these flavored tobacco products, usually getting them from others in the community. Some have even asked me if I would like to try it out for myself! Specifically, I’ve been offered flavors like cotton candy, watermelon, donut, and others via vape pen. My peers often claim that vaping isn’t as bad as traditional cigarettes, but it is still far from safe.
A ban on flavored tobacco products would lessen the number of lifelong tobacco users since these flavors are often what piques the interests of teens who are more susceptible to forming new habits. Despite being a fairly new member, No Minor Sale has given me the opportunity to attend their meetings and learn more about how addictive these flavored tobacco products are and how enticing they can be for many of my peers.
Evolvement has truly opened my eyes about the use of flavored tobacco products in our schools, how terribly it affects its users, and how we, as New Mexicans, could make a change. Strengthening policies against these excruciatingly harmful products would help hundreds of youth like me avoid, get out of, or simply inform others of these hard-to-break habits that would lead into adulthood. My fellow New Mexicans, this is our time to restrict/ban flavored tobacco product sales so that our youth can have a healthier and brighter future. Thank you.
My name is Aracely Flores-Ramirez and I’m a senior at Valencia High School in Los Lunas. This is my second year with the Evolvement program here in New Mexico and my first year on the leadership team. I have also advocated for tobacco control policy with the American Cancer Society: Cancer Action Network for over four years. Keeping my generation from becoming addicted to tobacco has always been a priority to me. That is why I was so excited when the Tobacco Products Act was signed into law and I got the opportunity to speak at a press conference celebrating it.
An Evolvement peer and I prepared for weeks to deliver our introductory presentation at the No Minor Sale Press Conference which was live streamed on No Minor Sale’s Facebook page. We started by answering some questions about what tobacco retail licensing meant to us and our communities. Then, over the course of several meetings, we crafted those responses into talking points for our presentation. Finally, the day came for us to turn on the webcam and deliver our speech. I was so nervous about stuttering or saying the wrong thing. Thankfully, my practice kicked in and as soon as I started speaking, the words came naturally. I felt so proud to be sharing a virtual stage with lawmakers to celebrate a policy that I had a part in making a reality.
The No Minor Sale Campaign has advocated for ending the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors. We have made a huge step towards this goal by enacting statewide Tobacco Retail Licensing, which ensures that all tobacco retail stores acquire a license to sell tobacco products. This is so important for the future of my generation because it will limit the number of places that youth can illegally purchase tobacco products. In turn, leading to lower tobacco-related health issues for my peers. As a student who is involved in policy, I have gained the skills to better the world around me and a passion for helping others get involved in public policy.
This press conference gave me the opportunity to reflect on why the work No Minor Sale does is so important. Getting to speak about the Tobacco Products Act helped me understand the exact way in which it will safeguard the health of New Mexicans going into the future. It is critical that we keep the momentum going and advocate for more policies that will limit tobacco sales to minors. Every single action adds up to make a big impact.
Hi, my name is Claudia Valenzuela. I'm a senior at Arrowhead Park Early College High School. I have been a part of Evolvement for almost four years now and almost two years for being part of the Evolvement New Mexico Leadership Team. Policy helps create a safe protocol for a community. It’s important to have strong policies in place to keep communities safe and a secure environment for everyone.
The No Minor Sale campaign’s policy aim is to end the illegal sale of tobacco products which would benefit the community of New Mexico by protecting our youth. We protect our future by moving towards healthier lives with tobacco policy. Since joining Evolvement, I have strived to go out into the community to spread creating a safe space for kids to learn, as well as a space for parents to become involved with their children and have the chance to express themselves through opinion surveys and messages of support.
Parents want the best for their children but when I see young adults wanting change, it seems even more powerful to be part of something that will greatly impact our future generations. Youth should care about this policy since the effects of positive policies determine their health, as well as those they are surrounded by. Working with Evolvement has taught me that although I'm still a young adult, I'm still capable of making an impact. I have learned that I can change and help prevent tobacco use by educating those around me, which is a great way to engage in something that has been affecting us for years like tobacco product use.
Tobacco exposure just creates curiosity to use for young adults. Tobacco hasn’t just stained my clothes with a harsh scent, its addiction has affected my family by becoming part of my dad’s character and personality. It’s damaged the way my dad moves through his day, colds aren’t just colds. They become a battle of long, short, continuous breaths. Watching someone struggle with addiction is harsh, especially when it's something that is most of the time glorified by the media. The influence to not use can change the way kids see tobacco, making them aware that these products were never meant for youth consumption.
A policy helps create a safe protocol for a community. It’s important to have strong policies in place to keep communities safe and a secure environment for everyone. Working with Evolvement has taught me to be available to help and communicate with adults as well as students.
If students become more involved in advocating for policy, I think we would change the way tobacco has imprinted on the majority of us. Supporting the policy change Evolvement is trying to make could help create a healthier environment here in New Mexico.
My name is Sarah Granio, I am a Sophomore at New Mexico State University studying agriculture and extension education with a minor in chemistry. I hope to someday be able to teach high school agriculture classes with subjects ranging from plant and animal sciences to mechanics and welding. I also work as a Resident Assistant in my residence hall, so one of my jobs is interacting with residents and trying to build community.
I have been an adult volunteer with No Minor Sale for six months now and was given the incredible opportunity to attend the Evolvement Youth Leaders Summit over the summer and really experience the different sister tobacco-prevention organizations here in New Mexico for the very first time. I have a friend who encouraged me to get involved with No Minor Sale, and while I was apprehensive about it at first, I have come to see involvement with No Minor Sale as an excellent way to get involved with my community and sharpen my sociable skills as I interact with new people more and more often. In this post, I wanted to share some of my experiences with planning events and working with other incredible people involved with No Minor Sale!
I was very excited to host my very first No Minor Sale event along with Tyra Trumble, another adult volunteer and a close friend of mine. We planned a virtual event for our residence halls, inviting all of the students and Resident Assistants (RA’s) living in each building to attend our event titled “Smoking, Spooks, and Sweets!”. Tyra and I designed a Halloween-themed trivia game and played with the six people who did attend, focusing a lot of our attention on interacting with them and introducing little bits and pieces of No Minor Sale with a short intro and trivia sprinkled into the game. We decided to take a less direct approach with introducing our organization because it was the first time No Minor Sale has been on campus at NMSU and we felt we needed a relevant hook, like a fun night of Halloween trivia, to attract more attention for our event. At the end of the night we collected 8 Opinion Surveys on flavored tobacco products, one from Tyra, myself, and everyone who attended which was great!
One thing that I’ve noticed while working as an RA in my dorm is that in-person events are much more popular than online events on campus. A lot of that lack of interest from residents could come from Zoom fatigue, or the desire to avoid any more time at their computers than they already have to put in for school and classes. Despite that, we are still very happy with the outcome of our program. It may have been small, but it was still successful! Hopefully with more No Minor Sale events, we’ll have a better understanding of what appeals best to the students at NMSU and can better plan our events to suit their interests.
Planning and putting on events sponsored by No Minor Sale is never a one-person job. Even if you’re the only adult volunteer interested in holding an event, there are plenty of incredible people ready to support you behind the scenes. It’s important for adult volunteers to be passionate and get involved because we get to interact with the public and represent No Minor Sale. The results might seem small, because 8 opinion surveys don’t seem like a lot, but I have to remind myself that No Minor Sale has never held any events at a university like NMSU, and every push for change has to start small and grow to something bigger. I hope that in the future we see more involvement on campus here in Las Cruces, and can spread awareness about No Minor Sale to the students here.
I really enjoyed the time I got to spend working with Tyra to put “Smoking, Spooks, and Sweets!” together, and at the end of the day, I felt satisfied with the outcome and the work that we put into the event. I want to encourage anyone interested in being an adult volunteer to take that first step and give No Minor Sale a try; there are so many opportunities to grow as an individual and to network yourself in New Mexico. To anyone who is already an adult volunteer, I would encourage them to try working with a partner if they are hesitant about hosting an event on their own but try nonetheless! Now that I’ve got my first event under my belt, I’m excited to do more and see what comes next.
Hello, I’m Rhyan Cordova and I am a senior at Valencia High School in Los Lunas. I’m a part of Evolvement; Evolvement is a youth-led movement promoting a healthier and tobacco- free New Mexico. I’ve been in this program for three years but this is my first year on the leadership team. In the time I’ve been in Evolvement, I’ve both attended and spoke at a few conferences on behalf of Evolvement.
Both the media and getting our message out via this platform are important because we are able to spread what and why Evolvement exists for exactly. We are able to provide a clear, straightforward discussion with our audience. The ability to spread our message via the media is a great way to channel our message on a wide scale and to spread awareness.
No Minor Sale is a campaign to stop the illegal sale of tobacco to minors. While being a part of Evolvement and speaking on behalf of No Minor Sale, I have had the opportunity to spread awareness through my appearance on TV, this was my first time speaking into front of so many people and I was so nervous. After that experiences I wanted to continue with this work but with more confidence and that’s what I did. I was able to present at the 2020 NM ACTion Conference speaking on subjects of youth advocating through our No Minor Sale and 24/7 campaigns. Some conferences are not televised but we continue to spread and show awareness on all forms of media. It is important to keep spreading awareness because change begins with you, so you can continue to spread awareness.
Speaking to the media provides the youth with skills such as confidence, enthusiasm, the ability to engage and learn stress management. These skills are grown over time and don’t show up overnight as you practice these skills over and over again. While working with Evolvement, I have learned just how important the media is to the spread of awareness and education to those who may not know the information Evolvement has collected from the public. When students become more involved in the media, they could grow as people but also become more prepared for the next phase of their life because of the skills they have come to grow. We should emphasize media as a means to spread awareness because in this form we are able to create the platform to advocate the means of Evolvement, continue with prevention efforts and create change.
Hello, my name is Cole Rowland and I am a Junior from Portales HS in the Southeast region of New Mexico. This will be my second year in the Evolvement program, and my first year as a part of the ENMLT or Evolvement Leadership Team. Youth advocacy has been a subject that I am very passionate about, getting involved is something I care a lot about and the outcomes of it are very rewarding.
As a new member of the ENMLT, I am so excited to be a part of the change that helps the youth of New Mexico. I feel that the youth need to be able to speak up and have a voice. After all, the youth is the future so they should have a voice in the matter. Being able to voice their opinions early in life sets them up to not have fear of it when they get older. Having a voice is the most powerful thing in life and to be able to defend yourself and speak up about something that isn’t right is very empowering.
Being able to be a part of the Evolvement program has helped me learn to speak up about more sensitive subjects and not be afraid to voice my opinion. At the Peanut Valley Festival in October of 2019 where this picture was taken, I was given many opportunities to voice my opinion and spread awareness about the effects of tobacco on my generation. As a program, we fought for the passing of tobacco retail licensing for tobacco products to provide accountability and assurance that the illegal sale of tobacco to minors would significantly decrease. By making it harder for the youth to obtain tobacco, the easier it would be to quit. Encouraging people to be pro-policy had its fair share of difficulties, but in the end, as an organization, we accomplished that goal with the support of thousands of New Mexicans that expressed their concern on the topic.
The passing of the tobacco retail licensing bill was a major success in youth activism within New Mexico. It showed that together, the youth can do great things when we voice our opinions and spread awareness. The Evolvement program has brought me to realize that the youth have the potential to do outstanding things. I hope that through being a part of the leadership team I will be able to accomplish many more great things this coming year.
Hear Emilio, an Evolvement Youth Advocate from Arrowheard Park Early College High School (APECHS) in Las Cruces talk about No Minor Sale, tobacco retailer licensing, and the Tobacco Products Act in this vlog!
My name is Emilia Coombs. I am a sophomore at Arrowhead Park Early College High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I have been a member of Evolvement, a renowned statewide youth engagement program, for two years. As part of Evolvement, I have been working on tobacco prevention through the No Minor Sale campaign, which works on ending the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors of New Mexico. I am so excited to say that the policy that the No Minor Sale campaign has been advocating for in order to end tobacco sales to minors has been signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and will be effective next year on January 1st, 2021! We did it! The Tobacco Products Act is going to help stop the tobacco industry from targeting children and will help reduce illegal tobacco sales to minors.
The Tobacco Products Act will help end illegal tobacco sales to minors for many reasons. To mirror recent federal policy, it will raise the state minimum legal sales age to 21 which gives young adults more time to mature before making the important decision of whether or not they should use tobacco products.
In addition, the Tobacco Products Act includes statewide tobacco retail licensing which is a huge step forward in New Mexico. It is super important to have strong policies like this because it enforces important laws and guidelines in order to protect people. This policy, specifically, protects minors from the dangers of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Retail licensing guarantees up-to-date information on what stores are selling tobacco products and where they are located in New Mexico which helps better monitor them. Equally important, statewide retail licensing will require tobacco retail stores to renew their license every year. Another component is that it will help make sure stores do not sell to minors because store owners will be punished instead of clerks who sell to youth or youth who attempt to purchase tobacco products. Lastly, future tobacco retail stores will be unable to open within 300 feet of a school.
This policy stops the tobacco industry from taking advantage of children. Nearly 90% of tobacco users start as a minor, so by helping stop minor sales, this policy will help create a tobacco-free future. It will save my generation from the dangers of tobacco which will make our lives so much better. So many youth become addicted to tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and I want to end that thread. Sadly, 1 in 3 tobacco users die from tobacco-related illnesses, and they deserve better. They deserve a life unharmed by tobacco products and the problems and illnesses it causes.
I work on the No Minor Sale campaign-- which has taught me how policy could save thousands of lives-- because I want to make a difference in my community by helping the youth of my generation decide to live tobacco-free. I hope you choose to support this policy to help create a tobacco-free future.
Howdy there, my name is Aracely Flores-Ramirez and I’m a junior at Valencia High School in Los Lunas. This is my very first year with the Evolvement program here in New Mexico. Even before I learned about this amazing program and the tobacco prevention campaigns it works on, including No Minor Sale, keeping my generation from becoming addicted to tobacco has always been a priority to me. I’ve gone to talk to our state senators and representatives about tobacco-related policies multiple times since I was in the eighth grade.
This year, on February 10th, I had the pleasure of attending the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe to learn about Tobacco Retail Licensing with the No Minor Sale Campaign. In fact, there was a bill, which I am extremely happy to say, that includes statewide Tobacco Retail Licensing that passed in the state of New Mexico. The Tobacco Products Act, which was signed by the New Mexico Governor on March 4th, 2020, goes into law January 1st, 2021. This policy ensures that more retail stores are held accountable for illegal tobacco product sales to minors. This will have an astronomical effect on the availability of tobacco to youth today. Most teenagers only start using tobacco products (such as e-cigarettes) because they tried it with a friend, and they could keep getting their hands on it after their first taste. It is hard to change the issue of negative peer pressure, but it is easier to stop it at the inciting incident. Tobacco Retail Licensing was a vital step in stopping the cycle.
It is through our voices, as youth advocates, that we can stop more stories like this moving forward. Policy makers have no idea what problems our generation is facing unless we speak up. Legislators, and adults in general, are not superhuman. They don’t know what issues we face and much less how to connect with us to solve it. It is our job to persuade them, as youth advocates, that it is worth the effort. You have to be confident, passionate, educated and know what you’re talking about. If legislators knew how a tobacco prevention policy would affect them and their own lives, they would be more likely to support it. Most legislators have children or know of other teenagers who are affected by these same issues and can relate to what you’re trying to say. If we work in collaboration with members of the state legislature, the impact will be much greater. Nobody knows us like we know ourselves which is why we have to take responsibility for our fellow students. Evolvement students, such as myself, have used this attitude in their work with the No Minor Sale Campaign and advocating for Tobacco Retail Licensing, which was ultimately passed, in part, due to our hard work.
Think of it like this. The more work we do now, the less work we’ll have to do later. Instead of spending money on tobacco cessation programs in the future, I feel it’s more beneficial to focus on prevention work so fellow students will not need these programs in the future. It’s easy to live in the moment and forget about the future. Always remember the end goal in these times! Change happens slowly. You may not see the effects of your advocacy for years, and that’s ok. In the end, you likely helped at least one person. You did your part to create a healthier community.
There is no time like the present to act. Everyone has the power to help someone else. Email your representatives, ask them out to coffee and reach out to your community to talk about No Minor Sale and tobacco prevention here in New Mexico. So, go out and do your part!
Hello, my name is Alisia Mejia. I am a sophomore at Atrisco Heritage Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico and this is my first year in Evolvement. Evolvement is a program for youth that is partnered with the No Minor Sale campaign. No Minor Sale is a campaign that advocated for statewide tobacco retail licensing in New Mexico to prevent the illegal sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to minors. Did you know that 1 in 6 retail stores sell tobacco products to youth under the age of 18?
I want to see New Mexico be a healthier state and for our youth to have a better future. I feel that youth and policymakers in New Mexico should care about tobacco products being sold to minors and my peers. We should care for our future and our friends because tobacco is the leading cause of death compared to aids, alcohol, homicide, and car accidents combined. I don’t want 12-year-olds in my community purchasing tobacco products and dying because they are becoming addicted to tobacco and nicotine products. We really need to change the future because we are the future.
Through Evolvement and my work on the No Minor Sale Campaign, I had the opportunity to go to the New Mexico state capitol building in Santa Fe on January 28th. At the capitol I spoke to seven legislators, including one state senator, and asked them to support statewide tobacco retail licensing in New Mexico to reduce illegal tobacco sales to minors on behalf of the No Minor Sale campaign. After I met with the seven legislators, I thought most of them were supportive of tobacco retail licensing. When I met with the first legislator, who happened to be State Senator Candace Gould, I was quite nervous. But after I met with a few more legislators, I gained more confidence and felt more outgoing to speak about tobacco and how it affects New Mexico. With that, statewide tobacco retail licensing was signed into law on March 4th, 2020 and will go into law January 1, 2021. I think it’s important for youth to communicate with policymakers about tobacco prevention because we are going to be the next generation in decision-making and we can prevent young children from being affected by tobacco.
Working on No Minor Scale shows me that kids are getting a hold of tobacco products at a very young age. My work on the campaign and Evolvement has also shown me that I can have the confidence in myself to change the future of health in my state. Working with the No Minor Sale campaign made me realize that New Mexico needs to pay more attention to who is selling tobacco and to whom they are selling to.
If an organization you are affiliated with is interested in joining the movement to protect our youth from the harmful effects of tobacco, please contact Michael@NoMinorSale.com.
On March 4th, the Tobacco Products Act, sponsored by State Senators Linda Lopez and Gabriel Ramos and State Representatives Joanne Ferrary and Liz Thomson, was signed into law by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2021.
The law requires tobacco distributors, manufacturers and retailers to acquire and possess a license for distributing, manufacturing or selling tobacco products. Tobacco distributors, manufacturers, and retailers will be required to acquire a license for each location for an initial nonrefundable fee with an annual license renewal fee for a smaller amount. The Tobacco Products Act defines tobacco products as a product made or derived from tobacco or nicotine that is intended for human consumption which includes cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, snuff, e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems.
The department of public safety will oversee all enforcement activities, including random, unannounced inspections of facilities where tobacco products are sold, manufactured or distributed. The Alcoholic Beverage Control division will have authority over the issuance, denial, suspension, revocation and other administrative penalties. Unless a tobacco distributor, manufacturer or retailer lawfully manufactured, distributed or sold at a location prior to July 1, 2020, a license shall not be granted if the location for the license or license transfer is within three hundred feet of a school. For further information about the Tobacco Products Act, press this link.
Prior to the Tobacco Products Act, New Mexico was one of only 12 states that had yet to pass statewide Tobacco Retail Licensing. In addition, with the new law, New Mexico joins numerous other states that have passed a statewide Tobacco 21 policy. With the infrastructure that statewide tobacco retail licensing creates, enforcement of Tobacco 21 policy in New Mexico will be much better suited for success. The overarching need for tobacco preventive policy has been exacerbated by the e-cigarette epidemic among youth and tobacco product use remaining the leading cause of preventable death in New Mexico.4 In addition, 1 in 6 New Mexico tobacco retail stores sell tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, illegally to minors5.
The No Minor Sale Campaign began in Fall 2017 and has educated community members about and advocated for ending the illegal sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The campaign has collected over 6,500 handwritten personal messages of support ending the illegal sale of tobacco products to New Mexico youth and/or for statewide tobacco retail licensing from residents of 177 different New Mexico localities and 31 of 33 New Mexico counties. With 63 total No Minor Sale Community Events and 23 total No Minor Sale Presentations that took place in 30 New Mexico cities/towns/pueblos along with 28 community partners from numerous New Mexico organizations and stores, the campaign has educated and gathered support from thousands of New Mexicans. In addition, the campaign has had numerous Evolvement youth advocates speak to state legislators about the importance of statewide tobacco retail licensing and the impact the No Minor Sale Campaign has had in New Mexico.
Although the No Minor Sale Campaign has done a great deal to accomplish its goal of advocating for statewide tobacco retail licensing, which has now been signed into law, the campaign will continue educating New Mexicans about the importance of stopping the illegal sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to New Mexico youth. As such, much work remains to be done. If an organization you are affiliated with is interested in joining the movement to protect our youth from the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine products, please contact Michael@NoMinorSale.com.
Forster, J et al., “The Effects of Community Policies to Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco,” American Journal of Public Health 88:1193-1198, 1998
Support for the No Minor Sale Campaign has been vast from community members across New Mexico. At events, presentations, and conferences, New Mexicans learn about illegal tobacco product sales to minors from retail stores and share their support for the campaign by completing support cards and volunteering for the campaign. In fact, many retailers are also supportive of the campaign because they care for and understand the issue at hand with illegal tobacco sales to minors in New Mexico and why tobacco retail licensing would be effective in reducing that youth access.
The owner of Oasis Vape, who had 9 Oasis Vape locations across Albuquerque sign onto the No Minor Sale Campaign in May 2019, stated that Oasis Vape shops “support tobacco retail licensing in New Mexico to help narrow the bad players in the industry. That way, the state and the public knows who is selling legally or illegally in the state of New Mexico. Right now, we don’t have the ability to do that, when it comes to tobacco, that [tobacco retail licensing] does not exist.” Furthermore, they also stated that “Oasis Vape operates adult-only (anyone of legal age to purchase tobacco products in New Mexico) facilities to prevent a new generation of youth being exposed to tobacco/nicotine-related products.”
The owner of Stag Tobacconists, who signed on as a retail partner to the No Minor Sale Campaign in December 2019, stated that, “I support tobacco licensing because it would further identify my business as having met all the requirements to become licensed by the state. Requirements, which I assume to include education in youth tobacco sales prevention. The system that NM has right now does little for tobacco businesses in providing information for tobacco business retailers (it takes a lot of unnecessary research to find answers).” They also said, "I felt it was important to sign on to the campaign for a couple of reasons. As a business that's been open for almost 27 years, I want it to be known that we will not sell to minors and the public can trust that their minor children cannot purchase tobacco or vape products, nor can they enter our store. Secondly, there are many stores who do not adhere to this and this has caused issues for all retailers, not just those who break the law."
This issue affects all New Mexicans and we appreciate the efforts made by these retail stores and their owners to self-regulate and ensure their establishments do not sell to minors! Statewide tobacco retail licensing will ensure that all retailers of tobacco products follow the law and those who continue to sell these products to youth will be punished more severely than the weak and inconsistently enforced penalties that are currently in place in New Mexico.
If an organization you are affiliated with is interested in joining the movement to protect our youth from the harmful effects of tobacco, please contact Michael@NoMinorSale.com.
In the month of October, the No Minor Sale campaign built incredible momentum and support throughout the state! In one month, No Minor Sale was at 8 events and 2 partner presentations in 10 different cities. As a whole, the No Minor Sale Campaign collected over 1,100 personal messages of support in the month of October!
Two organizations signed on as partners to the campaign in the month of October. Evolvement students Shayliin Reed presented to the Aztec Boys and Girls Club and Rose Tolentino spoke to Avenues Early Childhood Services in Gallup. Both organizations agreed to sign on as partners in the effort to stop the illegal sale of tobacco to minors in New Mexico.
No Minor Sale has also had quite the presence in numerous community events across the state in October. The 2019 Albuquerque Public School (APS) Health and Wellness Fair on Thursday, October 10th was a resounding success as Evolvement leadership student Amanda Sena, attended the event and helped collect 86 support cards for the campaign! Five different Portales High School Evolvement students took part in the two-day Portales Peanut Festival and accumulated 164 support cards for the No Minor Sale Campaign. In addition, Evolvement leadership staff students, Shayliin Reed and Ian Martinez from Aztec High School and Farmington High School, attended the Farmington Anti-Drug Summit on Friday, October 25th and had a No Minor Sale table while also speaking to hundreds of summit attendees. Lastly, Evolvement leadership student Marcos Martinez, along with four other Evolvement students from Silver City High School in Silver City, helped lead a successful event at the Children’s Fiesta at Penny Park on Saturday, October 26th.
But that’s not to mention the amazing work that Evolvement leadership students, Kaitlyn Romero and Liz Romano in Anthony and Claudia Valenzuela-Rios in Las Cruces, put in to lead No Minor Sale tables at a Gadsden High School Football Senior Night Game on Friday, October 18th and a Trunk or Treat event at Arrowhead Park Early College High School (APECHS) on Tuesday, October 28th, respectively.
No Minor Sale was also represented at an event in Jemez Pueblo on Sunday, October 13th and the New Mexico Youth Summit Event in Santa Fe on Wednesday, October 23rd.
Pictured: Silver City High School Evolvement students (left to right), Haley Perez, Fabre Hernandez, Aaliyah Brannigan, Marcos Martinez and Samantha Thompson at the 2019 Children’s Fiesta in Silver City on Saturday, 10/26/2019.
If an organization you are affiliated with is interested in joining the movement to protect our youth from the harmful effects of tobacco, please contact Michael@NoMinorSale.com.
In New Mexico, about 2,800 people die from tobacco use annually and another 84,000 are living with tobacco-related diseases. Annual smoking-related medical costs in New Mexico total $844 million.1Nationally, combatting cigarette use has been a difficult and long fight for public health advocates. That fight, however, was well rewarded as US cigarette use rates have recently reached historic lows. Unfortunately, this decline in cigarette use has coincided with a massive increase in e-cigarette use, and especially among youth. Youth e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels across middle and high schools in New Mexico and the US.
Preventing youth access to these tobacco products, which include e-cigarettes, in New Mexico is crucial, given their addictive nature and the burden tobacco causes New Mexican citizens. Luckily, our next generation of Americans are hard at work at continuing to combat the tobacco industry locally by raising awareness about the issue. Former Evolvement member Frankie Gutierrez has done just that and attests, "It's important to have campaigns like No Minor Sale because it's trying to stop illegal tobacco sales to minors and this is a huge issue in New Mexico. Myself, as a minor, have seen tobacco throughout my community and how easy it is for minors to obtain. No Minor Sale is not only helping to keep my community healthy, but it's also protecting all of the youth in New Mexico."
The future is bright with public health advocates such as Frankie Gutierrez and campaigns such as No Minor Sale in reducing the illegal sale of tobacco products to New Mexico youth. Even one sale to a minor is too many. With that, we hope our state’s elected officials will act to stop the illegal sale of tobacco and nicotine products to minors by supporting statewide Tobacco Retail Licensing!
If an organization you are affiliated with is interesting in joining the movement to protect our youth from the harmful effects of tobacco, please contact Michael@NoMinorSale.com.
1 Department of Health (n.d.). Complete Health Indicator Report of Tobacco Use – Adult Smoking Prevalence. Retrieved from https://ibis.health.state.nm.us/indicator/complete_profile/tobaccosmokeadult.html
We are so grateful to the organizations and businesses that support No Minor Sale and want to stop the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors! With the help of local organizations, we can build awareness around the issue of illegal tobacco sales, while protecting our kids from the dangers of tobacco products.
Evolvement students throughout the state are leading the way by presenting to organizations and asking them to sign on as partners of the campaign. Senior, Jenelle Torress from Miyamura High School presented to the Kiwanis Club of Gallup and said, “when the community shows their advocacy through the partnerships made with our No Minor Sale Campaign, it demonstrates the impact that this campaign has made to gain support. The Kiwanis Club of Gallup has been the first organization in Gallup to do exactly that. In partnering with us, they have demonstrated their stance on No Minor Sale, which establishes the guide to other community organizations to join our cause. I feel a sense of gratification when knowing that their support can show others how important our cause is. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to talk to the Kiwanis Club of Gallup in order to spur the support for No Minor Sale within my community, and hope to gain more support in the future!”
Thank you to all of our partners: NM ACT, Fierce Pride, Keres Consulting, NativeVet Material, St. Anthony Pediatrics, Kiwanis Club of Gallup, Otero County Community Health Council, Nashitti Chapter, Adobe Acres Neighborhood Association, Farmington Public Library, Santa Fe Recovery Center and Mix N’ Mojo Smoke Shop.
If an organization you are affiliated with is interesting in joining the movement to protect our youth from the harmful effects of tobacco, please contact Carlye@NoMinorSale.com.
With the closing of a year and the start of new, we’re
grateful to take time to reflect on the immense progress that we have made on
the No Minor Sale Campaign in 2018. Throughout the year we were on the ground
talking and connecting to local community members about stopping the illegal
sale of tobacco to minors. We have attended events in various communities, held
partner presentations at organizations throughout the state and talked to
thousands of people about protecting youth in New Mexico from the harmful
effects of tobacco and nicotine products.
In 2018 we:
Attended over 26 events throughout the state,
Collected over 1800 personal messages of
Presented to 10 organizations about stopping the
illegal sales of tobacco to youth with XX joining on as partners of the
We are so grateful to have connected to so many people
throughout the state that care about keeping our youth healthy. As we look onto
2019 we know that with your support, this momentum will continue to grow. Our
campaign is powered by community members in New Mexico voicing their concern
about tobacco and nicotine products.
You can help move the campaign forward in 2019 by:
Signing up to volunteer
Connecting the campaign to organizations that
may want to be a partner,
Sharing our the No Minor Sale Facebook page or
posts (Facebook.com/NoMinorSale) or
Talking to the people in your community about
stopping the illegal sale of tobacco to minors!
Join other passionate New Mexicans to protect kids from the illegal tobacco sales!
Even if you only have a few minutes a day, you can make a difference. We provide the training, tools and opportunities you need and you choose how involved to be.
Volunteers educate New Mexicans through personal conversations, community events, and meetings with community leaders. Your role as a volunteer can include collecting messages of support from the community, working at local events, presenting to local organizations, being active on social media and/or writing blog posts. You decide the best way to be involved. The volunteer role is very flexible and can be based on your current schedule.
Volunteers have the opportunity to earn points towards great rewards, like gift cards! With rewards for your efforts, you can guarantee that your hard work won’t go unnoticed AND you can help your community in the process!
We welcome volunteers from anywhere in the state of New Mexico with any schedule! We will help you get involved wherever you live and provide all the necessary training and materials to be effective.
Join us in creating a healthier New Mexico by applying at my.NoMinorSale.com/register
The No Minor Sale campaign has been traveling throughout the state of New Mexico connecting to hundreds of people on the importance of stopping the illegal sale of tobacco to minors. From Silver City, Mescalero, and Truth or Consequences, to Roswell and Tucumcari, we have collected over a thousand personal messages of support from people sharing why they are in favor of stopping the illegal sale of tobacco to minors.
This month, Alexander Lujan and A’Leaya Lucero, two Tucumcari High School students, worked the Fired Up! event. They shared an impactful moment in a post they wrote about the event on the Evolvement website, “it was great to see that we have the community on our side. An older gentlemen stopped by our booth and told us how he started smoking at around the age of eight. He said if he wouldn't have ever started he wouldn't be struggling to stop now in his old age.”
These personal testimonies from across the state are powerful. It is inspiring to see how many people truly care about youth in their communities. We also know concern over e-cigarettes is growing throughout New Mexico. The FDA reports that “more than two million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2017.” With new forms of tobacco products becoming increasingly popular among young people, No Minor Sale is doing its part to combat the epidemic by stopping the illegal sale of ALL tobacco products to minors. As the evolvement youth Alexander Lujan and A’Leaya Lucero from Tucumcari High School stated, “the more people who help, the more people we can reach and in the end the more change we can make.”
1. Wang TW, Gentzke A, Sharapova S, et al. Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States, 2011-2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018; 67:629–33. (Original Data Source: NYTS 2017)
Hello, my name is Dannika Maldonado. I am starting my 3rd year as a member of Evolvement. I have participated in 5 events two of them with the 24/7 campaign for tobacco-free schools and 3 No Minor Sale events, sharing information about illegal tobacco sales to minors. I have presented to 2 school boards, Silver and Cobre.
My first event this year was at the Red Hot Children's Fiesta in Silver City. The community was very supportive and I had a couple of people share stories of their loved ones being affected by tobacco from a young age. The Evolvement youth at Silver High School collected 76 messages of support at our event. These messages will be shared with local leaders and decision makers in our community.
I think high school youth should join Evolvement to get involved and attend events because they are really fun and you are helping promote a healthy New Mexico. This event was a community event and they are very different from school events because they are aimed more at the public and you get to meet a variety of people. Youth should be passionate about this issue because their own peers are being affected by big tobacco. This event was a great experience and I am very glad to have had it. I encourage everyone to go to events to have the great, fun experience I had.
The Lifecycle of Commercial Tobacco, Pueblo of Acoma
Ya'at'teeh shikeh doo
shidine'e, Hello my friends and family. My name is Samantha, I am a recent
graduate from Navajo Preparatory School and I’ve been apart of Evolvement
throughout my four years of high school. I started working on No Minor last
year, I was excited about this because it hit home for me. I did many partner
presentations and community events. These presentations about No Minor Sale and
I do it because I grew up watching friends and family members become addicted
tobacco before the age of 18. Which, they either bought it from the store near
by the schools or students asked older people to buy it for them. I don’t want
that type of to be toxic environment I want for my peers, family members,
friends, etc. to be growing up in.
The first step to changing that, was the NMS Partner
Presentation at a Summit, with an eleven-a.m. slot.During this partner presentation we handed
out support cards for the audience to choose whether to write a message in
support of our campaign and we received 17. Throughout the presentation I had
many questions about our campaign and many that we interested. My proudest
moment was to find out that I was asked to present because I am apart of the
tribe and they were proud that I was making a difference within my home
community and in others that allow me to make a change. It meant so much to me,
being considered as a presenter on something that I am passionate about. It
meant that I am being looked up to by many people and I am grateful to be their
For these many reasons stated, I know that activism is
important. It is a jump start for change, it allows people to have a voice that
they may of or may not have had before. It helps key decision makers find out
what the public is pushing for. Interacting with the public at these events and
presentations are important because we can answer any questions that they need
clarification on or maybe they would like more information on how to jump onto
our campaign. All of this to help New Mexico become a healthier place for the
next generations to grow up in. It gives me a reason to keep fighting for their
and my own future by keeping this awareness alive and to keep pushing for
One of the unique features on the home page of the No Minor Sale website is an interactive map. This map allows visitors to choose why they support No Minor Sale and leave a pin on our map based on their zip code. They can select one of our pre-given reasons or choose to write their own reasons. Others who visit the map will be able to hover over anyone’s pin to see their reason for supporting the campaign.
Many people, understandably, support No Minor Sale because, “It’s protecting children.” That’s what our campaign is all about.
But there are also some other heart-felt messages why No Minor Sale matters. Here are some examples:
“Devastating health effects.” – Denise
“Most, if not all, commercial tobacco is poison.” – Abe
“Tobacco affected people I care about.” – Tiffany
“I want to make a difference.” – Kendrick
All of these reasons are valid and appreciated. Tobacco use goes way beyond the user – it affects the user’s family and friends as well.
Why do you support No Minor Sale? We want to know your reason. Put a pin our interactive map and help us continue to spread the message that even one illegal tobacco sale to a minor is too many.
Hello! My name is Lea, and I am sophomore from V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, NM. I have been involved with Evolvement since my freshman year. As an Evolvement advocate, I have been educated on the harmful effects of tobacco, and I have had the opportunity to go into my community to convey the message through different campaign events for both the No Minor Sale campaign and the 24/7 campaign.
One event I participated in was the Fiery Foods Festival at Sandia Resort and Casino in Albuquerque on March 2-4. For this event, Evolvement had a booth set up in the ballroom to inform incoming people about the No Minor Sale campaign. No Minor Sale informs people about illegal tobacco sales to minors under the age of 18, including the many reasons why they are still happening and what we can do to solve the problem. Tobacco use begins at an early age for many, and with the No Minor Sale campaign we can reach out to individuals to terminate this growing epidemic. To enlighten New Mexicans on this negative situation, No Minor Sale conducts surveys to collect data on people’s prior knowledge of and opinions on illegal tobacco sales to minors. It also offers support cards for people who want to share their personal experiences.
Evolvers successfully collected nearly 300 surveys and 22 support cards during the Fiery Foods Festival. During the event, I was able to hear several stories from people about their experiences. This included an emotional account from a young lady who shared her situation of living with a father who smoked, resulting his passing away early. She spoke of her desire to spend more time with him and her wish to have ended his smoking habit. Stories like this this really touch on the reasoning behind wanting to prevent young people from becoming addicted to tobacco products.
Listening to personal testimonies makes it clear as to why campaigns like No Minor Sale are necessary. When attending community events, there are such diverse crowds with a variety of stories to be told. That is reason alone to be passionate about ending tobacco abuse. I believe the misfortune of lives lost due to tobacco can be prevented through this campaign. The youth have the potential to advocate and influence change, and can participate in community events. I have personally taken the opportunity to do so, and I hope to encourage others to become engaged as well.
No Minor Sale has begun Partner Presentations, an exciting educational extension into the community.
Through Partner Presentations, we present a 20-minute program about No Minor Sale to community and civic groups, answer questions, collect support cards, and request the organization to officially sign on as a community partner.
To date, we have presented to two outstanding organizations – The Sunrise Lions Club in Las Cruces and the San Juan Rotary Club in Farmington, which also led to an opportunity for No Minor Sale to speak on Vertical Radio’s (88.9 FM) “Four Corners Spotlight” program. Each experience presenting has been a unique opportunity to get to know New Mexican communities and educate them about the campaign. The feedback from these groups has been overwhelmingly positive.
We are seeking more Partner Presentation opportunities throughout New Mexico.
Do you have a group you think would benefit from learning more about No Minor Sale? If so, we want to come speak to them! Contact Campaign Manager Maria Grundy at email@example.com to learn more.
Thank you, everyone, for supporting No Minor Sale! Since August 2017, No Minor Sale has participated in 12 events in 10 cities throughout New Mexico and has collected over 2,000 surveys and support cards. Now, we are presenting at a variety of family-friendly festivals and celebrations to continue spreading the word.
Some of our events are spearheaded by our committed youth leaders from Evolvement, the Department of Health’s statewide youth-led movement, and others are staffed by engaged members of local communities.
Our event schedule keeps growing, which is exciting as we continue to raise awareness and create urgency around the issue of illegal tobacco sales to minors in our state. Come be a part of the movement of No Minor Sale and visit us at any of the upcoming events!
3/2-4: *30th Annual National Fiery Foods and BBQ Show, Sandia Resort and Casino, Albuquerque
3/10: *Arte y Cantos, La Plazita Institute, Albuquerque
3/16: *13th Annual Health & Wellness Fair, Daniel Fernandez Youth Center, Los Lunas
3/17-18: Mountain Living Home & Garden Show, Ruidoso Convention Center, Ruidoso
3/21: *Partner Presentation, Fierce Pride, LGBTQ Center at UNM, Albuquerque (TENTATIVE)
Do you have a New Year’s resolution? For No Minor Sale, it’s simple: get everyone in New Mexico excited to keep kids safe from tobacco by ending illegal tobacco sales to minors. Not sure if that’s for you? Check out some of the reasons people support the campaign from across the state:
“I support No Minor Sale because I started smoking at 13 because it’s really easy to get tobacco at some of the stores here.” - Sophomore, New Mexico Public Schools
“I am a 20 year smoker, I began smoking at the age of 14. I cannot say whether this was the gateway to addiction for me in my life, but eventually I had a drug and alcohol addiction. Although I am drug and alcohol free now, I still have not been able to quit smoking.” - Blake, Anthony
“My dad started chewing tobacco and smoking when he was 16…and already has early signs of lung cancer. I don’t want to see other kids wind up like my dad…I want today’s generation to make it past 60 to live a healthy life and not let tobacco take control of their life.” - Katy, Las Cruces
“No student should be able to get tobacco as they have enough to do in their lives!” - Don, Albuquerque
What’s your reason for supporting No Minor Sale? Share it on ourinteractive map, and let people on your social networks know how important this issue is to New Mexico.
You might be wondering why No Minor Sale is focusing on the dangers of illegal tobacco sales to minors, when it is already illegal to sell tobacco to youth under age 18. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why illegal sales are still happening:
Reason #1: Retailers don’t know there is a problem.More education is needed to explain evolving tobacco regulations, the impact of underage tobacco sales, and how retailers can help prevent illegal transactions at their stores.
Reason #2: There is limited incentive to make following this law a priority.Right now, retailers only receive a compliance check 1-2 times per year. When stores are caught selling to minors, the penalties are inconsistent and often weak.
Reason #3: New Mexico laws are out of date.For instance, New Mexico is one of only 13 states that does not require a license to sell tobacco. Tobacco retail licensing is a proven way to reduce youth access to tobacco products. Rule-breakers lose their license, which provides a strong incentive for businesses to follow the law.
Reason #4: We don’t know where tobacco is being sold.Retailers go in and out of business frequently, and our state does not require tobacco retailers to register or obtain tobacco licensing. If we don’t know where tobacco is being sold, it is difficult to enforce the law.
The Pecan Festival in Mesilla on October 21-22, 2017 was the fifth event for No Minor Sale, and it was organized by Charlotte Stalker, a local youth from Las Cruces. Charlotte is a member of Evolvement, a statewide youth movement sponsored by the Department of Health that works on public health campaigns including No Minor Sale. In total, six Evolvement students from Arrowhead Park Early College worked the two-day event.
The students spent the event speaking to and collecting surveys and messages of support from 150 people. By informing New Mexicans about the dangers of illegal tobacco sales to minors, the students incited a greater urgency in the public about the issue. “I support ending illegal tobacco sales to minors because it isn’t fair to all the young lives that become ruined,” said Evolver Fareeda who worked the event. With 90% of tobacco users starting before the age of 18, this lifetime of addiction should not be the result of a choice made too easy as a teen.
Evolvement is one group that is truly making a difference and spreading the word about illegal tobacco sales to minors in New Mexico. Does your group want to get involved in your community?Click Hereand let us know!
My name is Jaedan Marquez. I am currently in my junior year at Arrowhead Park Early College High School and I've been a member of Evolvement since my freshmen year. This year I have worked on the No Minor Sale campaign at the Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta in Mesilla, NM and also presented this campaign to the Sunrise Loins Club in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The reason I have taken the initiative to participate in these events is because I have two nieces and one more on the way. I want them to grow up in an environment where underage smoking is nonexistent and not another thing, that is bad for them that they could get introduced to.
On January 25th, my partner, Chriss Wright and I, presented the first ever No Minor Sales partner presentation to the Sunrise Lions Club of Las Cruces. During this event we collected a total of nine support cards. The members of the Lions Club were very intrigued by what we were saying and presented us with many questions about what our group is doing to educate our peers. It was inspiring to hear their stories of how they got into tobacco and the pop culture surrounding it when they were our age and how they don’t want the same influence on today’s youth. Meeting with the Sunrise Lions Club of Las Cruces was a wonderful experience for Chriss and I. These and other events are experiences that we hope to continue to encounter in the future.
If we unite as a community, we can educate the general populous about the negative effects of tobacco sales to minors. By reaching out to the community, at local events, we are able to educate and be the face of the No Minor Sale campaign. I look forward to new events to continue to create urgency to end illegal tobacco sales to minors.
My name is Charlotte Stalker from Las Cruces and I am currently a member of the Evolvement New Mexico Leadership Team. This is my second year on the leadership team, which means I’ve gotten to organize and work events for both the 24/7 and No Minor Sale campaigns.
September 16-17th, 2017 was the Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta, in Mesilla, NM, which I organized as an Evolvement Leadership Team member. We set up a booth with a plinko board to draw people to the table, in addition to walking around the festival asking people to fill out the survey for No Minor Sale. We collected over 200 hundred surveys in addition to 15 support cards, which give people the chance to write a personal message about why they want to end illegal tobacco sales to youth. We had interactions with a lot of shop owners who whole-heartedly supported our cause, which was really great because they’re the people we want to ally with.
Getting the chance to talk with community members outside of my school is a completely new experience for me. We get to have meaningful conversations with people who are genuinely interested in the issue and can help make changes about issues they’re passionate about. Talking to community members not only can help boost self-confidence and speaking skills, but it also provides a unique opportunity to speak on an issue you’re passionate about, such as underage tobacco use.
On September 3rd-4th, 2017, the No Minor Sale campaign participated in the 46th Annual Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM. The Chile Fest attracts not only New Mexicans, but also people from neighboring states such as Arizona, Colorado, and Texas, as well as California.
Along with two local volunteers, Andrea and David, we were able to speak to over 100 people at this event about the importance of ending illegal tobacco sales to minors. People were very receptive and engaging. Phillip, a resident of Albuquerque drove down to celebrate Hatch-grown chiles and visit the vendor booths. “Tobacco is a very addictive and harmful substance,” claimed Phillip. “It has no business in the hands of minors.”
Community events are a great way for the campaign to make a big impact in every locality in New Mexico. We have many events scheduled throughout the year, and we want to come to your town! Click here to bring No Minor Sale to your community.
In New Mexico last year, 1 of 6 retailers sold tobacco products to minors
90% of tobacco users start before age 18.
Every year, 1,000 youth in New Mexico become new daily smokers
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in New Mexico - about 2,630 New Mexicans die each year from tobacco-related illness
Shocking facts, huh? Think the youth of today are no longer into tobacco products? The stats above show that’s simply not true. So what can be done about it?
Welcome to the No Minor Sale campaign, where when it comes to tobacco products, even one sale to underage youth is too many.
No Minor Sale is an educational, community campaign working to end illegal tobacco sales to minors in New Mexico. Within this campaign, we will be presenting at community events across the state and collecting support from New Mexicans about why they care about protecting youth from tobacco abuse. We are also partnering with parents and community members across the state who are retailers and want to protect kids from using tobacco.
For more information, check out theresourcesand add your voice to ourinteractive map.You can also stop by our booth at the Macaroni and Cheese Festival in Albuquerque on August 19th to share your message of support.