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GUEST BLOG: Andre the Advocate Talks Heart

Hello AHA advocates and everyone stopping by! I am Andre Scott, a resident of Houston, Texas, and a fellow AHA advocate. I am a 15-year-old sophomore in high school fascinated with cardiology and internal medicine, and additionally utilizing ways to prevent cardiovascular disease in Texas and across the country!

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This summer of 2021, I am taking college courses (public speech and humanities) at Lonestar College to enhance my communication and effectiveness with my community concerning cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, I play the trumpet in my high school marching band and passed my freshman year of high school in the top 5% of my class. I started advocating with the American Heart Association to my lawmakers at the age of 14 for societal change in active transportation, ending youth tobacco use, and cardiac rehabilitation in my Texas community.

Many people in my life and community such as my neighbors, classmates, and even family members – especially individuals of color – are not taking corrective measures to ensure that their heart and vascular health is up to par. Though through the American Heart Association advocacy team, I found that I was able to speak to the lawmakers that can implement my words and change the lifestyles of my loved ones and community.

As a teenager who lives in a constantly changing generation with new trends and lifestyles, my main ambition is to encourage effective actions so that my community and loved ones are taking correct precautions to alleviate the risk of cardiovascular disease and live healthy lifestyles. Youth tobacco use is a major subject that I care about as a teenager since I see my Texas classmates frequently interest each other in e-cigarettes or vape products.

I know the harmful effects that the molecules in tobacco have on human health, and seeing my classmates go down that path of agony must be interrupted immediately. House bill 211 (proposing an e-cigarette tax) was recently considered by the Texas Legislature, and though it did not pass, this bill would not have been fully effective since it increases the tax of tobacco products by just a few cents for most products (which is flexible to the average teenager’s budget). I look forward to working with the AHA on legislation next session that be enough to keep teenagers from ever starting or encourage them to quit. 

Another issue that I care about as a teenager is access to quality cardiac rehabilitation, as Texas has an astonishing number of 43,770 deaths from cardiovascular disease, which affects the lifestyle of my loved ones/community. Advanced Practice Providers and Cardiovascular rehab hospitals offer treatment to the community here in Texas, however, access to these healthcare facilities can be difficult. Patients who complete a cardiac rehabilitation program have a 26% lower risk of dying of a heart disease related death than those that don’t, but enrollment remains low, especially among women and minorities.

Through the American Heart Association, I advocate for the causes of ending youth tobacco use and cardiac rehabilitation to my elected officials, since the quality of our health determines the quality of our future. Join me today and become an AHA advocate HERE.

Also, teenagers out there should check out the new Tobacco Endgame website just for us. 

Until Next Time,

Andre Scott
AHA Youth Advocate & Blogger

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