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The original item was published from 9/30/2019 8:25:40 AM to 10/2/2019 5:05:01 PM.

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Posted on: September 30, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Bismarck’s Break Free Youth Action Summit to educate youths about being advocates in their community

BISMARCK, ND - The Bismarck Tobacco Prevention Youth Summit will be held Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the Bismarck Event Center in Bismarck and is supported by Tobacco Free North Dakota. Approximately 150 middle and high school students and their advisors are expected to attend. 

Events like the Bismarck Break Free Youth Action Summit are important to our young people because the tobacco and vape industry continue to trap them into a lifelong addiction to nicotine. The youth summit helps students find their voice. This year, national speaker Ginny Chadwick, Western Regional Director for the national Tobacco Twenty-One organization, will present to the students’ techniques on how to be successful tobacco-prevention advocates. Some student attendees will also be presenting to their peers on tobacco prevention policies that protect youth and young people from the Big Tobacco and Vape industries.

Maddy House – a senior at Century High School – will be the opening speaker for the summit. House has been involved in Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) for 3 years and is a member of the Bismarck Break Free Youth Board. 

"In September of 2018, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA), declared youth vaping an epidemic. Students and young adults need to be involved in the fight against tobacco because our generation is the one most heavily affected by these new-age tobacco products. The Youth Action Summit provides the opportunity to educate students about the dangers of tobacco and provides them with the resources they need to further their advocacy efforts”, said House. “North Dakota is proud to have a great clean air policy, but we cannot stop at good enough.”

It is no secret that youth are at the center of the nation’s current vaping epidemic because of how the tobacco industry is marketing their products with bright colored packaging, sleek designs, and kid friendly flavors. Even though there has been a significant decrease in youth smoking rates over the last few years, vaping among high schoolers has increased by 78%. 

Ways to decrease e-cigarette use among youth are: to increase the price and tax them like other tobacco products, restrict the sale of flavored e-liquids and other tobacco products sold at convenience stores, and raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products including e-cigarettes to twenty-one.

In the weeks and months following the summit, attending students will work with their peers to create activities for Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31, 2019), Great American Smokeout (November 21, 2019), Great American Spit Out (February 20, 2020), and Kick Butts Day (March 18, 2020).

The Bismarck Tobacco Prevention Youth Summit is organized and sponsored by Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health and Tobacco Free North Dakota.  For more information visit https://www.breathend.com/publichealthunits/bismarck-tobacco-free/

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