Deb Gordon’s guest was Vincent Irving, Youth Activism Manager at Truth Initiative, a national public health organization dedicated to educating teens and young adults about tobacco and inspiring them to lead lives tobacco-free lives.
Truth Initiative has long been in the trenches helping to spread the truth about tobacco and is responsible for several effective public education campaigns – a proven contributor to the recent research showing tobacco use among young people at a record low.
“The tobacco use rate is now at an all-time low – 6 percent – the lowest it has ever been…we still know that there’s work that needs to be done, we still know that 6 percent of youth are using tobacco, so we need to reach them,” said Irving.
“And there are other products…like hookah…and things like e-cigarettes, so we’re looking at those, and we’re telling young people, there is no need to get addicted to this product – stay away from all of it.”
Mr. Irving, along with Truth Initiative supporters from across the country, recently held a rally in New York to protest the fact that Walgreens continues to sell cigarettes.
“CVS made the decision to take tobacco off their shelves…so, we decided to push other stores that have pharmacies in them to also take tobacco off of their shelves,” said Irving.
During the rally, Truth Initiative successfully gained access to a Walgreens’ shareholders meeting getting their message directly in front of attendees, some of whom also voiced their support.
“We had a young person actually go into a shareholders meeting and ask the Chairman, ‘Why are you selling this product? If you really want to be at the corner of happy and healthy, it’s not happy or healthy for you to keep tobacco on shelves,’” said Irving.
Mr. Irving discussed the need for community engagement in support of those at high risk of using tobacco, and encouraged New Yorkers to join their effort to help prevent young people from smoking.
“We have a campaign out called “finish it”, we know that the youth smoking rate is at an all-time low…and we think that this generation can be the generation to finish it…the majority of youth are not using tobacco… help us create the first generation to end tobacco use,” said Irving.
For more information and to get involved, visit www.truthinitiative.org.
See one of the Truth Initiative PSA campaigns below: