Every year the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) encourages youth across the nation to participate in national Kick Butts Day, but with the rise in e-cigarette use, it was time for a rebranding to ensure goals of taking down all tobacco products were heard loud and clear. This year, the Take Down Tobacco event emerged in its place, focusing on the theme “We/I #TakeDownTobacco because…”
In Hawai‘i, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i youth council planned a statewide event for Take Down Tobacco Day at the state Capitol. However, Kaua‘i wanted to contribute more than just participation bodies, Kauaʻi’s youth leadership team decided to create a visual, something big that would capture all voices, a giant banner! From February through mid-March, community tobacco education activities and events were led by youth. With the help of several adult allies, the youth were also able to present at community and youth meetings.
At the end of each awareness event, the youth presented a large 11 by 4 foot banner for those who wanted to #TakeDownTobacco to sign their names. The goal was to gather 3,000 signatures of support from people of all ages by March 18, to take to Oʻahu and display at the #TakeDownTobacco event planned for the Capitol.
In addition to collecting supportive signatures, the CTFH Coalition
Coordinator also worked with a freshman class at Kaua‘i High School to educate and help each student develop a hashtag or short phrase as reasons why they choose not to use tobacco. This activity also motivated at least 40 students to go online and complete the Taking Down Tobacco online courses.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Kaua‘i missed out on two additional events to gather signatures and complete the banner goals and decided not to move forward with the event at the Capitol. However, we were still able to gather just under 2,000 signatures and 150 motivational quotes or hashtags through six community events and two in-school activities. The #TakeDownTobacco event was able to proceed as a social media event, with students able to share parts of the banner online. We will also share the banner with our community in person when the time is right because we will #TakeDownTobacco.
For more information on how you can help Kauaʻi take down tobacco, please contact the Kauaʻi Coordinator at email@example.com.