Youth Advocate for No Minor Sale at the Fiery Foods Fest
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.