Coalition Peer Leader’s Rally at the State House Against Big Tobacco

Watertown Youth Coalition’s Peer Leaders Help Celebrate Kick Butts Day at the Massachusetts State House

On Wednesday March, 19th, 2014, Representatives from the Department of Public Health (DPH) joined the Peer Leader’s of the Watertown Youth Coalition (WYC), and more than 250 other young adults from across the Commonwealth at the State House for the national observance of Kick Butts Day; a day that recognizes the efforts and contributions of teenagers in smoking prevention and termination.

The WYC Peer Leaders are a group of informed, dependable, open-minded and dedicated Watertown High School students who are committed to making healthy choices and representing their decisions at school and in the community. These students in addition to the other participants are part of DPH’s youth movement, The 84. The number 84 represents the percent of youth in Massachusetts who choose to do positive things instead of smoke. It is a statewide movement of youth fighting Big Tobacco to make Massachusetts healthier and more tobacco-free. This number has increased to 86 percent since the movement started in 2007.

The WYC Peer Leaders involved in The 84 movement have been educating their district and their local lawmakers about issues relating to tobacco and further implementing prevention strategies in their communities. “Tobacco companies have been using cheap prices, glitzy packaging, and widespread availability to market their new, flavored products to young people,” said DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett. “Now they’re using those same strategies to market e-hookahs and other types of flavored e-cigarettes at young people. But young people in The 84 Movement are speaking out against these marketing tactics.” As members of The 84 Movement, and the WYC, the Peer Leaders have been essential in fighting the way Big Tobacco companies market their products to youth.