With Big Tobacco continually trying to hook Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ youth and low-income communities on its products, fighting these predatory marketing tactics has clearly become a social justice issue that young people care passionately about. What’s more, tobacco use impacts mental health and environmental protection efforts. To show young people that tobacco use is an intersectional challenge and to unite them to keep their loved ones and friends tobacco- and nicotine-free, DoSomething.org and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are launching a three-month program titled, “Why We Should Care.”
“We are excited to join forces with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for the first time, and applaud them for their highly impactful efforts to-date,” says DeNora Getachew, CEO at DoSomething.org. “Historically, tobacco use has disproportionately impacted marginalized communities, so this program is specifically designed to build a cohort of individuals who have been left out of the movement to build tobacco-and nicotine-free communities. Through this program we will activate Gen Z to keep loved ones and peers tobacco-free for the betterment of people and our planet.”
DoSomething partnered with actress and dancer Ava Michelle, star of the Netflix movie Tall Girl, for this program. Michelle appears in a conversation-style PSA video where she is introduced to issues that intersect with tobacco use, including mental health, predatory marketing towards youth and the environment. “Through this program, I’ve learned that nicotine and tobacco use impact more than just your physical health. It affects many of the causes I’m passionate about, and that’s why I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help increase awareness amongst my peers and the greater community,” says Ava Michelle.
The PSA shines a light on the weight of Big Tobacco’s wallet. It’s estimated that Big Tobacco spends $8.2 billion every year to market its deadly and addictive products.
“‘Why We Should Care’ was created to inspire and educate Gen Z about the negative role the tobacco industry and tobacco use play in the causes they care about the most,” says Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We are teaming up with DoSomething in the ongoing battle to keep young people tobacco-free, and we are looking forward to providing a foundation for them to become agents of change in their own communities.”
The program will educate young people about the impact of Big Tobacco starting with a five-question quiz, which helps participants learn how tobacco and nicotine use is connected to causes they’re passionate about, including racial justice, the environment, physical and mental health, and LGBTQ+ equity issues. Upon completion, participants will receive a customized conversation guide and a checklist of action items they can use to activate their friends to also take a stand against Big Tobacco.
Young people can sign up for the “Why We Should Care” program here or by texting TAKEDOWN to 38383. Those who participate in the program by September 15, 2021, will be entered for the chance to win a $1,500 scholarship from one of DoSomething’s scholarship partners:
- College Greenlight