As members of FACT, Wisconsin’s youth tobacco prevention movement, our local group is excited to spread the truth about tobacco and make a difference in our community. We recently made a video to raise awareness about an issue that is easily overlooked: Many Milwaukee youth have easier access to tobacco than to healthy food.
In zip code 53206, near where we spend our time after school at Neu-Life Community Development, there are 65 tobacco retailers, compared to just 27 tobacco retailers in Milwaukee’s Upper East Side and Shorewood, zip code 53211, which has more people. Over 23% of underage youth were able to purchase tobacco during compliance checks in Milwaukee during 2016, compared to 7% of youth statewide.
Creating the video was an amazing experience. We talked about our time doing retailer compliance checks with Wisconsin Wins and educating our peers through FACT to change our community and the community of others. We also want to recognize and thank the people who gave us this opportunity to inform our peers about the dangers of tobacco and how it can affect our family and friends. We also talked about being in a black community and being deprived from produce and healthy products that can help our community grow and flourish.
As we share in the video, “Milwaukee is segregated. On [our] side of town, you have more junk food, and tobacco products are being sold to minors. You have to travel all the way to the white side of town to get healthy products and healthy produce like fruits and vegetables. Black neighborhoods are targeted more for tobacco products, and that means we buy more, we smoke more, and we die.”
We hope this video is the way to shine some light on these issues and change the way our community is for the better. We encourage people to watch the video at: www.bit.ly/factyouth.