There is no question that tobacco and drug use cause emotional and physical harm to growing bodies. From inconvenient side effects to disease and death, these addictive substances have shown they can destroy lives. While previous generations were blind to the facts and deceit from industries pushing their products on youth, today’s youth are armed with the knowledge to help them lead happier and healthier substance free lives.
Young people in Maine are making a big impact in their communities by getting involved in policy change, taking action, and advocating for what they believe in. You too can be a positive influence for your peers and adults, by using your voice to make a difference. Here are some things you can do:
Know the Dangers
Using tobacco, alcohol, and drugs is dangerous. Not only do they impact your emotional and physical development, but they also can lead to long-term disease and addiction, which can interfere with school, relationships, and health.
You Are The Target
The tobacco industry has purposely targeted youth with advertising, promotions, samples, movies, and more. If you begin smoking when you are young, you are more likely to become addicted which creates a long-term customer for their deadly products.
They review data about popular trends in music, fashion, and products that appeal to younger audiences. They know youth are highly influenced online and they intend to lure you into thinking smoking is hip and part of your identity.
Unfortunately, it works. Big Tobacco spends more than $42 million each year on targeting Maine youth and one third of youth who experiment with smoking do so because of effective tobacco industry marketing.
Everybody’s not doing – and that’s a fact. The campaign challenges youth to engage in critical thinking skills, identify positive influences, and stand up to negative pressures around substance use. It allows youth to develop an awareness of how they want themselves to be perceived and how their actions might impact how others see them. The campaign empowers their expression and celebrates the importance of making smart choices around all substances.
Your life may be filled with pressure, some good, some bad. It’s important to be aware of the negative influences around you – whether that’s friends, school, athletics, social media, or something in the media. You have an opportunity to change the conversation and lead the way.
If you are 21 or older, you may often enjoy alcohol when socializing with friends and family. Drinking can be harmful, depending on your age, health status, and how much/often you drink.
If you choose to have a drink, here are some simple steps to help you Party Smarter: