My name is Landon Lopez, and I am a junior at Hennessey High School in Hennessey, Oklahoma. I joined YAHL to help Oklahoma students understand why it is important to be healthy. YAHL has two campaigns: CounterAct Tobacco and Elevate Student Health. For this blog, I will be writing about CounterAct Tobacco.
When I first got to high school, I knew people that vaped and smoked. It is extremely easy to go to gas stations, ask for a vape and walk out with one. My first time trying a vape was at a party, and I liked it. The day after, I asked someone to get one for me. I got addicted and did it for a couple of months, but when I found out about YAHL and the CounterAct Tobacco campaign I decided it was time to quit and learn about how I can change for the better.
CounterAct Tobacco is a local campaign that holds Big Tobacco companies accountable for targeting Oklahoma youth. We help educate the community about how easy it is to go to convenience stores and get tobacco products. Many people don’t understand that getting tobacco and nicotine products is super easy. I remember the first presentation I did was with an organization in Hennessey and when we told them about the policies and how extremely easy it was to get tobacco products, they were very surprised. Our mayor was in the meeting and agreed to sign our partner support card to help us!
It is important for YOU to support CounterAct Tobacco, too. It is very common to see a person underage with a tobacco product. It can lead to addiction and end with unhealthy habits. It is important to let youth know what they are signing themselves up for when they buy their first tobacco product because it won’t be an easy or long life.
-Landon Lopez, Hennessey High School