Feb 21, 2024 3:08pm

Protecting Youth From Lifelong Health Issues

My name is Christeana Piancino and I am a sophomore at Pecos Cyber Academy. This will be my second year in Evolvement and my first year on the Leadership Team. Flavored nicotine products are harmful to our youth because companies like Big Tobacco are targeting them with flavors such as watermelon, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and ice cream, trying to get them addicted so that they will continue to buy their products. This may eventually cause lifelong health issues such as lung cancer and scarring of the lungs.

Back in April 2023, I participated in a health fair in Raton, New Mexico with the No Minor Sale campaign manager to advocate for a policy that would restrict flavors so that Big Tobacco cannot target youth anymore. We set up a booth, gave away swag items, educated the public about the effects of flavored tobacco and nicotine products on kids, and collected surveys, which show data on how New Mexico adults AND youth feel about this issue. According to the data from the surveys we collected, we were able to conclude that around 95% of adults surveyed are concerned that kids under the age of 21 are using flavored tobacco products, and around 85% of kids surveyed are concerned as well.

Seeing kids as young as kindergarten vape and smoke is very concerning because they don’t understand what they are doing to their bodies. All they know is that these products taste good, oblivious to the fact that they are causing real harm to themselves and slowly becoming addicted.

Working with No Minor Sale is important because it helps to protect our youth in New Mexico from the damaging effects of flavored tobacco and nicotine products such as e-cigarettes, vapes, chew, and other harmful substances. With No Minor Sale, we hope to protect youth from lifelong addiction and health complications.

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