Alyssa Murray, Maine

I am in my senior year at Maine College of Art and am interested in a career in art therapy. I love living in Maine (even if I might complain about trudging through piles of snow on my way to class).  However, day after day, I’m continuously surprised at the number of my classmates who smoke. 

hero_image_alt_text===Alyssa dressed as the AHA's mascot, Ticker.

Many tell me that they wish they didn’t start such a bad habit at such a young age, and regret their addiction.  My mother is also a smoker who started smoking as a teenager and just can’t quit. She is now suffering from the consequences of her addiction. This is why I volunteer for the American Heart Association.  The American Heart Association is dedicated to fight the scourge of tobacco.  So am I. 

I started volunteering for the AHA when they needed someone to dress up as Ticker at a Go Red for Women press event.  Then, this summer, I was able to submit testimony on a city ordinance that raised the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 in Portland. The ordinance passed!  Now, I hope to continue my efforts as the American Heart Association strives to pass this policy statewide.  Oh, and I was able to reprise my role as Ticker again this year.  Always fun.

I really hope that generations after me will either not start smoking at all, or, will be able to quit more easily due to more difficult access to tobacco. Raising the purchase age to 21 not only benefits smokers, but also helps people like me see friends and family take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. A healthy future for my friends and family is my “why.”

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