Youths speak out against tobacco

Published 10:22 am Friday, December 4, 2015

The Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services heard a presentation from the Washington Parish Youth Coalition during a monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church.

The students shared that 45 stores were surveyed in Franklinton, Bogalusa, Pine, Angie, Varnado and Mt. Hermon and of the 45 stores, 33 sold tobacco. The Youth Council gave a “D grade” for exterior advertising, as 21 percent of the stores in Washington Parish are advertising at a child’s eye level.

A D grade was given for interior advertising, as 72 percent of the stores in the parish have some form of tobacco on an inside advertisement. Youth making the presentation were Grace Fornea, Tanner McKenzie and Abby Fornea, from Pine Junior Senior High School.

Questions from the audience included, “What is a dissolvable cigarette?,” “What is the definition of a blunt paper?,” and “What flavors do cigarettes come in to appeal to youth?”

The students answered the questions with the following: Unlike chewing tobacco, dissolvable dissolves in the mouth like a breath mint.

Blunt paper is a wrap for marijuana or tobacco and often come in flavored rolling papers.

Candy-flavored cigarettes show that the tobacco industry is marketing to children. Flavors include fruit and mint.

Funding for the Washington Parish Youth Coalition comes from CADCA’s Drug-Free Communities grant and The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living. Gail Brigham and Kelli McKenzie coordinate the local efforts.

The Parish Coalition involves people who represent business, civic, health care professionals, law enforcement, media, parents, faith organizations, schools, state government agencies, substance abuse organizations, youth and youth-serving organizations.

The next meeting is scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 9:30 a.m. at ESM United Methodist Church, with a preliminary committee meeting at 8:30 a.m.

To find out more about the Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services, visit www/ or on Facebook at WPCHS.