After months of planning, over 125 youth from six islands and 40 community member volunteers were set to rally against the e-cigarette industry at the State Capitol. Their mission: meet with lawmakers to end the sale of flavored tobacco in Hawaiʻi. But due to COVID-19 concerns and to prioritize the health of our keiki, it was shifted to a virtual event. 

On March 18 many joined their fellow students from across the country and posted why they #TakeDownTobacco on the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids “Power Wall”. Hawaiʻi had our own Power Wall on our Youth Council page, thank you to all of the community partners, family and friends that showed support by posting. Here are a few of the posts from the 18th:

 

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our rally was cancelled to prioritize the health of our youth, but we took the event to social media this Wednesday! Check out our power wall for Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action at the link in bio 👊💥 . On March 18, over 150 youth from six islands were set to rally against Big Tobacco and the e-cigarette industry at the State Capitol. Their mission: end the sale of flavored tobacco in Hawaiʻi. Instead, advocates posted why they #takedowntobaccohi. . Now, more than ever, we need to keep our youth and their lungs healthy. Mahalo to everyone who joined in! Shout out to @rozbaker808 and @smatayoshi for being champions for our keiki. . *Posts showing large groups were reposted from 2019* . #hiphiyc #takedowntobacco #cleartheairhi #breathealoha

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Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action is a day of activism where communities across the globe rally to push for the first tobacco-free generation. Youth tobacco rates are at a 20-year high in the U.S. due to the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic, and tobacco is still the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. and across the globe. On March 18, 2020, students, teachers, parents, elected leaders, health professionals, advocates and concerned citizens just like you are standing up to Take Down Tobacco.

So much of what our youth learn is theoretical. This event was an opportunity for them to take action: find an issue they’re passionate about, educate lawmakers about what they’re seeing in their schools, and see that their voices matter. It may not have gone according to plan, but we saw community members across the state joining together to keep our youth and their lungs healthy.  Mahalo for helping make their event a success. 

For more information and how to become part of the youth movement contact Scott at scott@hiphi.org.