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Teens advocate living tobacco-free

Teens in Rowan County showcased the work of the state’s “Tobacco. Reality. Unfiltered (TRU)” youth movement in schools and communities across the state as each local TRU group sponsors regional activities during “TRU Week 2009.
Funded by N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund, TRU is North Carolina’s first grassroots statewide youth tobacco prevention initiative with projects working in every county of the state.
The initiative also includes multimedia campaigns using testimonials of North Carolinians suffering from the effects of tobacco use.
Salisbury Hornets Tackle Tobacco TRU club got the word out to their peers on the harmful effects of tobacco use and had more teens sign the pledge to stay tobacco free.
“This week is also a great way for other youth to learn more about our TRU group and hopefully decide to join us,” said Jasmine Cowan, Hornets Tackle Tobacco member.
Salisbury High’s TRU club members read tobacco facts during morning announcements and set up a TRU booth during lunches encouraging their fellow students to sign the pledge wall and live a 100 percent tobacco-free life.
One student, Thomas Loy, told club members he was signing the pledge because his grandmother died of lung cancer from being a smoker when he was a freshman.
Now a junior, he said he had experimented with tobacco, but after he tried it, he knew it was not the thing for him. He wants his friends to stop using tobacco before it’s too late.
“Why should I smoke? Smoking affects physical performance and I’m on the football team, so tobacco and football don’t mix,” he said.
Loy is trying to encourage his stepdad to quit because he wants him at graduation.
Other TRU clubs set up booths at games, set up lunch and learn TRU booths, did cigarette butt cleanups and planted tulips in shape of TRU.
TRU Week events highlighted resources for quitting such as the state’s Quitline NC. Contact 800-Quit-Now to speak to a trained professional quit coach that will support efforts to kick the habit.
North Carolina teens can sign in person with the TRU group or online at www.realityunfiltered.com.
Teen tobacco use in North Carolina is declining, a trend that accelerated when the Health and Wellness Trust Fund began funding the Teen Initiative. North Carolina’s Youth Tobacco Survey results indicate 19 percent of high school students smoke cigarettes, a decrease from 27.8 percent in 2001 when the initiative began. The number of students who report ever having used tobacco also decreased.
The N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund funds programs that promote preventive health.
The fund was created by the General Assembly in 2000 to allocate a portion of North Carolina’s share of the national tobacco settlement.

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