Charlottesville, VA (June 6, 2022) – In late May, the national grassroots and tobacco control organization Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe) hosted their annual Clear The Vapor Conference. Speakers and participants for the event ranged from public health officials, federal congresspersons, and even one of Charlottesville High School’s own Y Street members, Max Tyree. Max presented on the environmental impacts of tobacco products, raising awareness of the waste that tobacco and e-cigarette-use produce – accounting for nearly 40% of all littered items – and its harmful effect on the environment, and shared his student advocacy work as part of the Share The Air campaign.
Y Street is the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s (VFHY) statewide volunteer initiative for high school students. Y Street members like Max strive to make sure Virginians have equitable access to clean and healthy spaces and do this by promoting the Share The Air campaign. Share The Air aims to create 100% tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free parklands by encouraging Parks and Recreation Departments and other local government officials to adopt tobacco-free outdoor policies.
Max shared a variety of data and research highlighting that a strong majority of Virginians (89%) agree that parklands should be tobacco-free and vapor-free. Additionally, Virginians (88%) feel strongly that secondhand smoke is a dangerous hazard outdoors, and that tobacco and e-cigarette products cause damage to the environment (91%).
Beyond the data and research though, Max also shared his own personal experiences as part of Share The Air and the impacts he’s had in making Virginia’s outdoor public spaces 100% free of tobacco smoke and litter, and vape aerosol. Participating in “campaign community events is fantastic as they inform the community about the campaign and are so fun.” Max also noted his meetings with policymakers have been very impactful, and he feels that each of the meetings set up by the campaign “have all been vital to policy change.”
Continued work and dedication from Y Street members like Max are helping push Share The Air forward as it continues to promote healthier outdoor spaces that all Virginians are able to enjoy. You can view Max’s session online here.
About the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY)
Established in 1999 by the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth empowers Virginia’s youth to make healthy choices by reducing and preventing youth tobacco and nicotine use, substance use, and childhood obesity.
VFHY takes a comprehensive approach to prevention work that includes reaching about 50,000 children each year through classroom-based prevention programs in public schools, after-school programs, community centers, day cares and prevention programs across the state. VFHY’s award-winning marketing campaigns deliver prevention messaging to more than 500,000 children annually. In addition, VFHY’s research program provides scientific insight on methods to effectively reduce tobacco use. Since 2002, VFHY has funded 40 large research projects at universities throughout Virginia. For more information, visit www.vfhy.org.