Reality Check, our student engagement and youth action component, is a student led, adult supported, statewide program for youth between the ages of 13 through 18 to address tobacco control initiatives. Students who join NYC Smoke-Free’s Reality Check program participate and lead activities and events to help expose the tobacco industry and reduce the number of teens that initiate smoking.
Currently, over 13,000 of NYC public high school students smoke and as a result, one-third of them will die prematurely. There is now the ever growing e-cig/vaping epidemic that has swept the county by force. NYC teens are no exception – 45,000 of public high school students have reporting e-cig/vape product usage in 2017. NYC Smoke-Free remains committed to ensuring that the next generation is smoke-free, by continuously engaging in ongoing efforts to build and maintain a youth infrastructure that encourages community and civic engagement and peer leadership.
Although NYC has achieved many great successes in tobacco control over the years, we aim to keep up with the tobacco industry’s ever-changing strategies to get young people to smoke and effectively targeting and turning young people into “replacement smokers”. NYC Smoke-Free works with students on several tobacco control initiatives which aim to (1) reduce and end the proliferation of tobacco retail, (2) eliminate tobacco imagery in youth rated movies and youth focused internet sites, and (3) increasing both indoor and outdoor smoke-free spaces to eliminate harmful exposure to secondhand smoke.
With NYC Smoke-Free Reality Check, students will…
- Develop leadership skills with opportunities to work with peers across the state
- Become stronger public speakers
- Build confidence and enhance teamwork skills while meeting new friends
- Engage legislators on issues that affect youth across the country
- Find a safe place to explore interests and utilize talents to advocate for a cause
- Discover a world full of fun experiences and new activities
- Fulfill service requirements to attract perspective colleges/universities
- Create multimedia projects that are used to educate their communities and the nation.
HOW TO GET STARTED:
- STEP ONE – Contact your borough Student Engagement Coordinator to set up an interest meeting.
- STEP TWO – Organize a recruitment meeting with prospective students.
- STEP THREE – Allow students to utilize their creative talents to engage peers and educate on smoke-free topics. Follow the NYC Smoke-Free program tool kit.
TOBACCO’S TOLL IN NYC:
- Over 21,000 public high school students currently smoke.
- One-third of current student smokers will die prematurely.
- Most adult smokers admit to initiating smoking before age 18.
WHY SHOULD YOUR SCHOOL PARTICIPATE?
- To educate students and expose the misleading marketing campaigns of the tobacco industry.
- To help students cultivate strong leadership in their community.
- To advance students advocacy skills and convey community awareness