Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BE Team Health Champions

As one of the main targets of the tobacco industry's marketing tactics, the youth population plays a significant role in the battle against tobacco. Despite the tobacco industry’s efforts to counter life-saving tobacco prevention policies, young people continue to demonstrate the power behind their voices. One way young people in Jefferson County are becoming engaged in tobacco prevention efforts is by joining local Breathe Easy (BE) teams. BE teams have made significant gains in shaping tobacco-free norms and decreasing youth access to tobacco products in Jefferson County communities.

Three particularly engaged young people were recognized as Public Health Champions this year at a luncheon held by the Jefferson County Public Health Department. Hannah Fritz and Beau Hogan, of the Golden High School BE Team and Carissa Leeper of the Lakewood High School BE Team, joined several community coalition chairs as Public Health Champions, a testament to their dedication and the powerful impact they make through their work.

Right: Golden BE team member Hannah Fritz smiles with fellow Public Health Champions, Breathe Easy Wheat Ridge and Healthy Unincorporated Jeffco coalition chairs Lynnette Namba and John Coles.

Golden's BE team, represented by recent graduates Fritz and Hogan, successfully advocated for an ordinance reducing youth access to tobacco. The Golden ordinance requires licensing of tobacco retailers and proof of identification for all tobacco purchases, regardless of customer age, for non-cigarette tobacco. The ordinance also requires that clerks selling non-cigarette tobacco be at least 18 years of age.

Lakewood's BE Team, represented by senior Carissa Leeper, successfully advocated for a stronger smoke-free ordinance in the Lakewood community. The Lakewood ordinance extends smoke-free entranceways to 25 feet and requires that all outdoor transit waiting areas, playgrounds, athletic fields and gathering places in parks and city events be smoke-free.

These three tobacco prevention youth Public Health Champions have helped to reduce the toll of tobacco on our communities and helped shape tobacco-free norms, making tobacco not only less desirable and less acceptable, but also less accessible. An enormous congratulations to Hannah, Beau and Carissa, for their meaningful contributions to the movement for healthier communities. The honor is well-deserved! To learn more about opportunities to get involved, please contact Nicole at or 303-239-7007.

No comments:

Post a Comment