Youth from Brookline joined others from across the Commonwealth on April 26, 2017 for a Kick Butts Day event to celebrate their role in reducing the influence of the tobacco industry in their communities.
The 26 participating chapters including the Brookline peer leaders from Brookline High School, are all members of The 84 Movement that engages young people in educating others about tobacco industry tactics, participating in local change efforts and promoting the norm that most youth do not smoke.
During an awards ceremony, awards were presented to individuals and chapters of The 84 Movement for their dedication to reducing the impact of tobacco in their communities and across Massachusetts. The Individual Local Community Change Award was presented to Makena Binker-Cosen from Brookline High School for her dedication to youth tobacco prevention in her local community.
Last fall, Makena presented a warrant article restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products in the town of Brookline. Town Meeting members overwhelmingly supported the regulation with a vote of 178 to 2. The Brookline youth met with Sen. Cynthia Creem and Reps. Jeffrey Sanchez, Frank Smizik and Michael Moran to express their concerns about tobacco, and particularly the rise of e-cigarettes, in their communities. They talked with lawmakers about how the tobacco industry uses fruit and candy flavored tobacco products to target young people, and how the tobacco industry makes these products cheap and available at gas stations, corner stores and other places youth frequently visit.
The young people participated in an opening program with the Massachusetts commissioner of public health, Dr. Monica Bharel. The youth also heard from Reps.Kate Hogan, Paul McMurtry and Senator Jason Lewis about how the tobacco industry targets them with products that are sweet, cheap and easy to get. All youth attendees were applauded for their dedication to promoting healthy choices among their peers and for sharing with legislators what they see and experience every day in their communities.
The 84 is a program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program, developed and managed in partnership with Health Resources in Action.
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