Youth Advocate for No Minor Sale at the Fiery Foods Fest

Hello! My name is Lea and I am a sophomore from V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, NM. I have been involved with Evolvement since freshman year. As an Evolvement advocate, I have been educated on the harmful effects of tobacco, and have had the opportunity to go out in my community to convey the message through different events for both the 24/7 campaign and the No Minor Sale campaign.

One of the events I participated in was the Fiery Foods Festival held at Sandia Resort and Casino in Albuquerque through March 2-4. For this event, Evolvement had a booth set up in the ballroom to inform incoming people about the No Minor Sale campaign. This campaign informs people about illegal tobacco sales to minors under the age of 18, including the many reasons why they are still happening, and what we can do to solve the problem. Tobacco use begins at an early age for many, and with the No Minor Sale campaign we can reach out to individuals to terminate this growing epidemic. To enlighten New Mexicans on this negative situation, No Minor Sale conducts surveys to collect data on people’s prior knowledge of and opinions about illegal tobacco sales to minors, and offers support cards for people who want to share their personal experiences.

Evolvers successfully collected nearly 300 surveys and 22 support cards during the Fiery Foods Festival. During the event, I was able to hear several stories from people about their experiences. This included an emotional account from a young lady who shared her situation of living with a father who smoked, resulting with his passing away early. She spoke of her desire to spend more time with him and her wish to have ended his smoking habits. Stories such as this one really touch on the reasoning behind wanting to prevent young people from becoming addicted to tobacco products.

Listening to personal testimonies makes it clear as to why campaigns like No Minor Sale are necessary. When attending community events for Evolvement, there are such diverse crowds with a variety of stories to be told that it is reason alone to be passionate about ending tobacco abuse. I believe the misfortune of lives lost due to tobacco can be prevented through Evolvement. The youth have the potential to advocate and influence change, and should participate in events in their communities. I have personally taken the opportunity to do so, and hope to encourage others to become engaged as well and to learn about the meaningful ideals Evolvement upholds.

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