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Maui Youth Are Ready to Share Their Voices!

Vaping prevention education is underway on Maui! It is important to educate our youth by helping them understand that they have a voice and can make a positive difference for their state and even their county. Schools from all over Maui are scheduling e-cigarette prevention presentations with HIPHI’s new Maui County Coordinator for the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi, Leslie Garo. Due to widespread vaping among Hawai‘i’s youth, schools of all levels request presentations on the topic, from elementary to high school. At each presentation, students can ask questions and engage through discussion and activities. Presentations are scheduled through the rest of the school year, and many teachers and staff have shown great interest in continuing into the next school year. 

Instead of vaping, I could be... Instead of vaping, I coudl be business man and own a sporting goods stgore in the heart of Kihei. Or I could travel around the world to be a conservationist and help people think positive. Also I could be the next President.With more vaping education being completed, students are also discussing what action steps they can take to make a difference and change tobacco laws. After every presentation, at least one student asks, “If tobacco is so harmful, why is it legal, or why do they keep selling it?” or “Why do the Big Tobacco companies keep targeting us, youth?” They are also introduced to the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi Youth Council. Many students have shown interest in conducting education through peer-to-peer outreach, while some are more interested in understanding the legislative process. They express how they want laws to change to better their future and for the younger generations. With more education and exposure to such programs, our youth have a chance to share their voices and make a positive impact in their community. 

At a recent statewide tobacco-free event, 11 youth representing Maui attended. That means there are 11 more youth who are more knowledgeable about the youth vaping epidemic, how a bill becomes a law, and how to advocate for policies to end the sale of flavored tobacco in Hawaiʻi and restore local authority to regulate the sale of tobacco products. We are back in the game, educating and supporting the youth to let them be the future leaders in making Hawaiʻi a tobacco-free state. 

If you would like to schedule a presentation, please contact leslie@hiphi.org. If you know a teen who needs help quitting, please visit MyLifeMyQuit.com, call 1-855-891-9989, or text “Start My Quit” to 36072.

Headshot of Leslie Garo

Leslie Garo

Maui County Coordinator for the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i
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