Students from across the Ocean State are building a movement to ensure the first tobacco-free generation.
hero_image_alt_text===An image of the attendees at the conference.
On February 2nd, Tobacco Free Rhode Island (TFRI) hosted the "This is Our Year" Youth Tobacco Conference. TFRI worked with local and national partners, volunteers, youth advocates, adult advisers, and the TFRI Youth Advisory Board to pull off an inspiring event!
TFRI was joined by 130+ students from 28 different communities and nearly 60 adult advisers! Throughout the day, American Heart Association and American Lung Association staff & volunteers worked with students on a campaign called “21 Reasons” to build support for raising the sale age for tobacco products from 18 to 21.
The opening session was led by TFRI Youth Advisory Board members and two presenters - Jennifer Leigh of CVS Health who discussed their national “Be The First” initiative and Central Falls Councilwomen Carlene Fonseca who shared her journey as a youth advocate and a champion for the health and wellness of Central Falls residents.
Adult participants then spent several hours with Gustavo Torrez from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to learn about authentic youth engagement. The students broke up into two different workshops. One youth workshop was led by two Truth Initiative Activists (from Michigan and Berkeley, CA) who discussed activism 101, smoke-free environments, and flavors. The second youth workshop was led by three TFRI Youth Advisory Board members (from Tiverton, Warwick, and West Warwick) who used the Stanford Tobacco Toolkit (made possible by CVS Health) to train students on emerging trends such as e-cigarettes and Juuls and showcased this new program that is available to partners. After lunch, the entire conference jumped right into an activism activity called a PhotoStory, where they used photography as an activism tool.
Congratulations to Dan Fitzgerald, TFRI Network Coordinator, and the TFRI Youth Advisory Board on an amazing conference!