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For Youth Advocates
As a youth advocate you have a unique opportunity to make significant change in the tobacco control movement. As a matter of fact, the involvement of young people has already made a difference all across the country and the world.
Youth play a unique and important role in the world of tobacco control. Nearly 90% of smokers started before their 18th birthday, and the tobacco industry knows this, and has even called youth "replacement smokers" for the 1,300 American customers they lose daily to tobacco-related illness. Young people are highly targeted by the tobacco industry and often become addicted to tobacco before they are legally able to buy it.
Because youth are targets, youth groups have been powerful allies in the fight against pro-tobacco influences, key partners in denormalizing tobacco use, and important stakeholders in fighting for tobacco control policies.
The power of youth
- Advocate for policy change:
Young people are effective at garnering support for policy development and change. Youth capture the attention of political leaders and the media in ways that adults can’t.
- Project a powerful voice:
Youth have credibility with their peers and other community leaders.
- Expose tobacco industry tactics:
Youth are effective partners in the fight against the tobacco industry because they can expose manipulative tactics and the latest gimmicks to try to bring in more youth tobacco users.
- Invoke creativity and innovation:
Young people naturally provide innovation and creativity, making this work more exciting and attractive to policy makers, partners, and other youth.
The Advocate's Glossary
Activism: The process of taking action to address a problem or issue. Activism and advocacy may overlap
Advocacy: A form of activism used to speak on behalf of an affected group to demand action on a particular issue like smoke-free air or raising tobacco taxes
Education: A form of action used to inform people of the threat and consequences of a problem in order to influence attitudes or behavioral change
Organizing: Builds power among a collective group of leaders and community members directly affected by an issue to advance systemic change
Service: Provides relief and support to people directly affected by an issue.