Youth of county come together to help combat tobacco usage

Published 8:14 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Carter County’s youngest residents are doing their part to help with tobacco cessation.
The Tobacco Teen Board recently met at Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition and were able to provide feedback on their survey results of several retail shops in the community that sell tobacco products to the public.
Weeks ago, the youth were able to work alongside Paul Loeser with Vanderbilt University as he taught the Board on how to develop a retail assessment when it comes to how stores are selling products and how they market the products to children.
Jilian Reece, Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition director, said the teens completed almost 30 assessments of stores in the area and are expecting to complete the rest in the coming weeks.
Reece added that Reece Townsend, FACT Summit teen and member of the Board, said that he was surprised at how closely tobacco would be placed near ice cream and candy in some of the stores assessed.
Pate Anglin, FACT Summit ambassador, added the assessment proved to be a real eye-opener for the Board.
“I saw some stores that took the extra step to prevent children from becoming addicted to tobacco prematurely,” Anglin said. “However, there were some stores that strategically placed toys and treats on the left and right of their tobacco products. This needs to be stopped before more kids die prematurely in our cities.”
Having the children participate in the program is key for developing strategies on how to help tobacco cessation for the county’s youngest demographic.
“We are so grateful to be invited to participate in this initiative,” Reece recently told the Elizabethton Star. “It is valuable for our youth to know how tobacco companies are marketing to them. It is also valuable to CCDP to gain this knowledge as students go into stores and evaluate tobacco marketing strategies in our county.”
The initiative of assessments was created by officials from the Learning Environment Assessment & Feedback (LEAR) Committee formed by Vanderbilt University Medicine.
Carter County Health Department and Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition have been on the forefront of promoting tobacco cessation county-wide and were able to receive state notoriety from their work and were also able to send local youth to last year’s annual FACT Summit alongside their peers from across the state.
CCDP is continually looking to build up a presence for the youth and encourage local children to steer clear from using tobacco products and other addictive agents.
Based in downtown Elizabethton, the CCDP Youth Opportunity Center allows area youth to have a fun and safe environment while learning ways of developing healthier lifestyles and help promote to their peers.
For more information, individuals are encouraged to visit the Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition Facebook page online. Reece added the Teen Tobacco Board is looking to grow and is welcoming any teenagers wanting to help with tobacco cessation and other projects.

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