Full of Smoke

My name is Ruthie and I am a junior at Giles High School. I have been in Y Street for three years with two years of Leadership Team experience. While working with Y Street I have spent a lot of time learning about the effects of tobacco and e-cigarette products. I have worked with my school and Y Street to educate youth and the community about these effects.

The FDA has been studying the number of minors using tobacco and e-cigarette products. After years of seeing the number of youth using cigarettes become smaller, the number of teens using other tobacco products and e-cigarettes has risen significantly. This change has been caused by the recent outbreak of products such as JUUL. E-cigarettes have been marketed to minors with flavorings and the untrue notion that these products are “safer” than other tobacco products like cigarettes. This has created an overwhelmingly large, new generation of nicotine addicts.

Recently, the FDA has been working to ban these products from the market. I have seen first hand the effects of these products in my school and community. I think the ban is necessary. People have been told by these vaping companies that their products are safer and healthier, so if the FDA came out with a ban on these products and evidence that people cannot ignore supporting their ban, it can make a positive change in the use of vaping products in the country.

While in Y Street, I have worked with my school’s administration and my peers to combat the rising number of teens using tobacco in our school and community. We have spread awareness of this issue at community events, during school lunches, and even at the Virginia General Assembly. Youth voices have become so powerful in the past years, and are continuing to gain power. By using our voices to advocate for positive change, there are no limits to the success we can have in our missions.

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