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The COVID-19 pandemic made it a tough year for everyone, especially for us teens. We’ve dealt with virtual school, quarantine, and other things that make teenage life stressful. Some of my peers turned to tobacco to deal with that stress, and that really worries me because I’ve learned about all the damage that tobacco can cause to your body and how it affects your life.
Some of them think that tobacco is not dangerous. They look at all the flavors and all the devices they are sold in, and think, how can something that looks and tastes like this be harmful. In fact, four out of five youth tobacco users started by using a flavored product. Vapes also make it much more likely that they will end up using other forms of tobacco in the future.
But, you can help stop this. Preventing youth tobacco use starts by not letting young people have access to the products in the first place. That’s what’s so important about the Wisconsin Wins program.
As a volunteer with Wi Wins, I let store owners know why it’s so important that they check IDs, keep an eye out for adults who purchase tobacco for kids, and take other steps to help keep us safe. The retailers and clerks have responded to that message, and as a result, underage tobacco sales in Wisconsin have declined. We are thankful for that!
If you’re a retailer, please visit Wiwins.org and learn more about our efforts and about problems associated with flavored tobacco. You can also get free training to help retailers avoid underage tobacco sales by visiting Witobaccocheck.org.
Thank you for helping teens like me avoid a deadly lifetime addiction.