Presenting Healthier Air for All to my Peers

Hi, my name is Hailey and I am a junior at Iowa High School in Iowa, Louisiana. This is my first year in Next Era and it has been a great learning experience! I have become more knowledgeable about the Healthier Air For All campaign and I show others that you can help change the environment to be a better place. Not too long ago I got the chance to give a presentation on the campaign at Bell City High School. This opportunity allowed me to communicate with others on the cons of using tobacco in our workplaces and in public in general.

The presentation I gave was on tobacco prevention. I prepared for this presentation by learning everything I could about the tobacco industry from the slide show we were given. I even looked up additional information to be better prepared for questions that the students may have had! This presentation was important to me because tobacco is taking the lives of not only users but non-users as well. Tobacco tops the list of most addictive and dangerous substances. I explained the consequences of smoking and told them the benefits of trying to end secondhand smoke in our communities. Things I included in my presentation were that tobacco use causes nearly 6 million deaths per year worldwide and that the tobacco industry is persuading younger people to smoke to replace the old smokers who are dying. They do this by using influential ads with colorful images and new e-cigarette flavors such as dragon-fruit, cotton candy, gummy bears, fruity pebbles, and many other fruity or candy like flavors. For these reasons many people are beginning to start smoking at a younger age. Everyone knows once one kid has something, every kid wants it – “monkey see monkey do.”

This experience has given me the confidence to speak comfortably in front of a large group of strangers. I think this is a great way to spread awareness about the Healthier Air For All campaign because youth are more likely to listen to other youth about things like this. I also think the youth should be the ones to help stop the usage of tobacco in our communities because if not now, when will it get done, and if not us, who will help stop it? Being a part of Next Era gives me an opportunity to contribute to my community and to try to help it become a healthier one. We can help our community go from a tobacco-polluted environment, to a smoke-free one. This would be a wonderful change because the tobacco in our community affects everyone emotionally, mentally, and physically. I want to contribute to the campaign because I want to have smoke-free workplaces, so nobody must choose a paycheck over their health. To me, the employees should not have to put their lives in danger just because people who work around them or people who come to their workplaces are smoking. This not only harms the people working but also their loved ones. Smoke-filled places endanger everyone, from the person that smokes, to the people simply around them. Having smoke-free work areas would benefit each and every one of us.

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