Published on July 6th, 2015 | by Burlington Partnership0
Burlington Students Celebrate A Smoke-Free Church Street
For the third year in a row kids from Burlington youth prevention groups, Vermont Kids Against Tobacco (VKAT), Our Voices Exposed (OVX) and BHS START partnered with our coalition to raise awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke for National Kick Butt’s Day on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015.
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up against the big tobacco companies marketing to them. Tobacco kills 1,300 Americans every single day. In order to stay in business when their customers are dying, the tobacco industry aggressively markets their products and according to industry documents seeks “replacement smokers,” specifically teens. Youth events were organized on Kick Butts Day around the country using the hashtag #notareplacement.
In Burlington, students from Hunt and Edmunds Middle Schools involved in VKAT decorated the lamp posts on Church Street with blue ribbons that shared messages the students wrote about why they choose not to smoke. The messages also thanked Burlington for the new smoke free ordinance on Church Street that is helping to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, youth tobacco use, and supporting health in Burlington.
At the same time, teens from BHS Students Taking Action and Risks Together (START) and OVX visited businesses along Church Street asking them to put a decal in their store window (created by the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community) that says, “Breathe Easy. Smoke Free Zone.” They were met with enthusiasm from merchants who agreed to display the bright decal and show their support for a smoke free Marketplace.
Our staff also hosted a table on Church Street from 11:30-1:00 that day to hand out smoking cessation resources and offer support for smokers to make a quit attempt. When we all work together to support a healthy community, we CAN create a healthy community! To learn more about how you or your organization can support smoke-free efforts click here.