Back in January, Teens Taking Action Inc. was awarded a $1,500 grant from the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition. In honor of that grant, our organization has decided to join the thousands of other organizations worldwide that are raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco and secondhand smoke.

The World No Tobacco Day is today. The goal is to educate policy makers and the public about the tobacco industry’s harmful tactics. The World Health Organization is leading the fight against this epidemic.

The tobacco epidemic is one of the largest public health threats the world has ever faced. Nearly 6 million people a year die because of it, and an additional 80,000 to 100,000 youths around the world become addicted to tobacco every day. However, they are not the only ones affected. An additional 600,000 people are killed each year because of secondhand smoke, and 165,000 of them are children.

Teens Taking Action’s mission statement is, “Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s Leaders. Through our values we build better communities.” Speaking on behalf of other youths in our community, we want to take a stand against tobacco and not allow it to target us and the youth around the world.

In Kansas, we are lucky to have a public smoke-free environment. However, we are asking our community leaders to re-think policies and asking those using tobacco to think about World No Tobacco Day as a great time to help end this public health threat. When we improve the health of our community, we create a more positive place to live.

— Zachary Haney,

Topeka