Guam ranks first in current smoking among adults throughout all of the US states and territories, according to CDC’s State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System. With a smoking rate of 30% among Guam’s adults, it is not surprising that young teens are mirroring this deadly habit. In the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted among Guam’s public school students, 2 in 10 high school students and 1 in 10 middle school students are current smokers.
Youth for Youth LIVE! Guam (YFYLG) is taking action to create a smoke-free generation. The organization aims to reduce and prevent youth tobacco and e-cigarette use by limiting youth access to such products. Youth members developed and distributed an educational toolkit for policymakers and community organizations to provide a comprehensive understanding of tobacco and e-cigarette use and its implications. Youth members continue to mobilize and strengthen their efforts in support of Bill 141-33: Youth Protection Act of 2015 introduced by Vice-Speaker BJ Cruz.
As highlighted in this toolkit, YFYLG shares that voting in favor of the Youth Protection Act of 2015 (Bill 141-33) will directly impact the youth and their health:
Salas, along with fellow officers, provided their testimonies at the May 23rd public hearing for Bill 141-33. Following her testimony, Vice President Sara Sahagon expressed her personal concern as to why she supports the bill: “In my experience as a youth facilitator with YFYLG, I have heard countless stories of how tobacco has negatively affected many youth in our island. I support Bill 141-33 because I stand by a healthy future for us - the youth.”
Throughout the week, YFYLG will be reaching out to the island’s senators through door-to-door visits. They are also sharing highlights of the educational toolkit by posting it on their social media pages. For more information, like or follow Youth for Youth LIVE! Guam on Facebook (facebook.com/yfyliveguam), Twitter (@yfyliveguam) and Instagram (@yfyliveguam).