On March 24th, CTFH hosted a Kick Butts Day event and rally at the Hawai‘i State Capitol. The theme for this year’s Kick Butts Day was the Youth Council’s chosen policy priority: prohibiting smoking, including electronic smoking devices, in a vehicle while a minor is present. By focusing on this measure, youth from Hawai‘i were able to spread awareness and advocate for a bill that would protect minors from breathing in toxic chemicals as a result of secondhand smoke exposure in vehicles.
On this day, a total of 77 participants took part in the event representing O‘ahu (58), Hawai‘i Island (7), Kaua‘i (4), Maui (4), and Moloka‘i (4). Youth and young adult supporters worked together to educate Hawai‘i State Legislators and the general public about an important health problem affecting Hawaii’s youth. Many of the youth and young adult advocates shared their concerns relating to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure to minors in vehicles. Participants discussed how kids cannot escape when adults are smoking in cars and that secondhand smoke levels are dangerous even with the windows open.
According to the evaluation survey results, all of the youth advocates learned a great deal about harmful health issues and felt empowered to share their stories with legislators. Many of the participants shared that they felt that the lawmakers do care about youth’s opinions. One advocate even wrote: “I learned that it does not matter how young you are because anyone can make a difference if they truly believe for what they fight for’.
The Youth Council is a great way for high school and college students to learn leadership skills, make new friends, and have an impact on health in Hawai‘i. Youth can sign up for the Youth Council by contacting Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org.