Hello! My name is Jessie and I am a senior at King George High School. This is my fourth year in Y Street and my second year on the Y Street Leadership Team. As a statewide volunteer initiative, Y Street has promoted various health campaigns such as Share The Air. The Share The Air campaign aims to make Virginia’s outdoor public spaces 100% tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free. To push the campaign goals forward and create positive change across the state, fellow Y Street leaders and I have engaged with community members and met with decision-makers.
On January 13, I was invited to present on Share The Air at the King George County Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee meeting to continue the discussion from the meeting I participated in last summer with King George County’s Park Director, who was very supportive of the campaign. To prepare, I practiced the presentation and considered the potential questions that could be asked by committee members. During the virtual meeting, we thoroughly discussed the campaign, from sharing personal experiences and the issues caused by tobacco use, such as exposure to secondhand smoke and vape aerosol, to campaign strategies to tackle the issue. We also discussed the voluntary tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor policy that local park authorities can adopt and implement and the free resources that Share The Air provide such as tobacco-free signage and social media promotion. At the end of the meeting, the committee agreed to discuss the proposed policy further and expressed interest in receiving free signage to help with implementation and communication if they decide to adopt the policy. They also were eager to share information about the campaign with others.
From having the opportunity to present to key decision-makers, I’ve learned that many people from my community truly do support the policy and goals that are brought forth by the Share The Air campaign, which is inspiring and exciting. Supporting tobacco-free outdoor spaces encourages healthy behaviors that will ultimately benefit the community and environment. To learn more about the campaign and show your support for tobacco-free, smoke-free, and vapor-free outdoor spaces, visit sharetheairva.com.