ALBUQUERQUE – Today, youth leaders at 15 schools across New Mexico are hosting “Kick Butts Day” events to raise awareness about their schools’ tobacco- and e-cigarette-free policies.
Increased awareness of tobacco-free school policies helps students, staff, and visitors comply with these standards and ensures that schools are truly tobacco-free environments. The youth leaders are part of Evolvement, a youth movement promoting a tobacco-free New Mexico.
“It feels great being a part of such an important day that joins youth all over the country in the fight against tobacco,” said A’Leaya Lucero, 16, of Tucumcari High School.
24/7 events will take place on Kick Butts Day at Silver High School (Silver City), Atrisco Heritage High School, (Albuquerque), Gadsden High School (Anthony), Tucumcari High School (Tucumcari), Newcomb High School (Newcomb), Navajo Preparatory School (Farmington), Farmington High School (Farmington), Capital High School (Santa Fe), Arrowhead Park Early College High School (Las Cruces), Aztec High School (Aztec), Hiroshi Miyamura High School (Gallup), Portales High School (Portales), Valencia High School (Los Lunas), V Sue Cleveland High School (Rio Rancho) and Cuba High School (Cuba).
These events are part of the 24/7 campaign, a cross-cutting statewide collaboration between adult and youth community members. The youth arm of the movement has taken the lead on helping schools create and maintain tobacco-free environments. The 24/7 campaign engages the school community with interactive banner displays, photo pledges, and assessments designed to gauge student, staff, and visitor understanding of existing tobacco policies.
The data from these surveys is used to help principals understand where there may be room for improvement in communicating and enforcing tobacco-free policies.
“I have many younger cousins and siblings going into the schools that I am in now, so if I am able to make an impact and have a truly tobacco free campus then I feel better about the school being safer for them,” said Jaeann Gonzales, 18, of Atrisco Heritage Academy High School.
The 24/7 campaign also assists school districts in updating their policies to be truly comprehensive and provides free resources – including bilingual tobacco-free signs – and recognition to school districts as they go truly tobacco-free.
Seven districts – Roswell Independent School District, Pecos Independent School District, Central Consolidated School District, Los Alamos, Moriarty-Edgewood, Bernalillo, and Las Cruces Public School District – have already set the standard of health for districts statewide by partnering with the campaign to adopt a tobacco-free policy that meets the Department of Health’s comprehensive standard.
About the 24/7 Campaign
The 24/7 campaign is a New Mexico Department of Health initiative to help all school districts in New Mexico understand, adopt, implement, and enforce comprehensive tobacco-free policies. For more information, visit http://www.247NewMexico.com.
Evolvement New Mexico is the New Mexico Department of Health Tobacco Use Prevention and Control (TUPAC) Program’s youth-led volunteer program with a mission to decrease the harmful and addictive use of tobacco. To date, more than 3,000 teens have participated in the Evolvement Program across New Mexico. For more information, visit http://www.Evolvement.org.
About Kick Butts Day
Kick Butts Day is a national day of action for youth to stand out, speak up, and seize control against tobacco. Youth groups across the U.S. are marking the day with school and community activities to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco and encourage tobacco-free living. For more information visit http://www.KickButtsDay.org.