Vermont students to march and rally for vaping and tobacco prevention

Vermont Business Magazine On February 13, nearly 200 students from 17 Vermont high schools representing the state’s youth-led movements to reduce youth vaping and smoking prevalence – Our Voices Xposed (OVX) and Vermont Kids Against Tobacco (VKAT) – will march with supporters and community partners through downtown Montpelier to the Statehouse for a rally against the dangers of youth vaping and tobacco use.

The students will be welcomed by Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, and other state officials. Students will speak about how vaping and flavored tobacco products attract youth, and call out the deceptive and manipulative tactics by tobacco and related industries designed to create the next generation of people with life-long nicotine addiction.

The annual rally is a part of the CounterBalance educational effort, working to help empower and amplify youth voices to end tobacco’s influence in Vermont. 

WHEN: Tuesday, February 13

  • 9:30 a.m. – Representatives of the OVX & VKAT groups will be recognized in Senate Chamber by Senator Virginia "Ginny" Lyons.
  • 9:45 a.m. – March to Statehouse starts at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 Main Street, Montpelier.
  • 10:00 a.m. – OVX & VKAT Youth Rally at Statehouse steps.
    • Welcome comments by Chief Prevention Officer Monica Hutt (on behalf of Governor Phil Scott); Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD;  State Senator Virginia “Ginny” Lyons.
    • Student speakers from Hartford Middle School, Hinesburg Community School, and Lamoille Union Middle School. 
  • 10:00 a.m. – Representatives of OVX & VKAT groups recognized in House Chamber by Representative Jessica Brumsted.
  • 10:30 a.m. – Student Meet & Greet with Attorney General Charity Clark, Attorney General’s Office.
  • 12:00 p.m. – Student and Legislator Meet & Greet Flavored Ice Cream Social, Cedar Creek Room, Statehouse.

 

WHERE: March Start: Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 Main Street, Montpelier, VT

March End and Rally: Vermont Statehouse, 115 State Street, Montpelier, VT

WHY: The annual rally unites youth and community voices that promote education to protect youth from the harms of flavored tobacco and prevent youth use of e-cigarette and tobacco products. 

KEY POINTS:  

  • Most flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, toxic and can affect the lungs, body and developing brain.
  • During the last 30 days, 16% of Vermont high schoolers have used an e-cigarette product. Of those who vaped, 30% used it every day.
  • Teens who first try tobacco using a vape are four times more likely to try cigarettes, compared to teens who don’t vape, and teens who first try tobacco using a vape are three times more likely to be current cigarette smokers within two years.
  • 85% of e-cigarette users ages 12-17 use flavored e-cigarettes.
  • Nicotine content in e-cigarettes has more than doubled in the past five years.
  • Nicotine can worsen anxiety symptoms and increase feelings of depression.
  • Disposable e-cigarette use by high school students increased from 2.4% to 26.5% (approximately 1,000%) in 2019-2020.
  • When added to tobacco, menthol flavoring makes it easier to start use of products and harder to quit.

 

VISUALS: High school and middle school youth leading a march and rally; youth speaking on the Statehouse steps; interactions with legislators; comments by Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, Senator Ginny Lyons, and Chief Prevention Officer Monica Hutt; rally signs and banner.

RELATED DATA and ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: HealthVermont.gov/Tobacco

About the Department of Health

We have been the state's public health agency for more than 130 years, working every day to protect and promote the health of Vermonters. 

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About OVX & VKAT

OVX and VKAT youth leaders from across the state educate communities through the CounterBalance campaign to reduce the prevalence of tobacco and flavored e-cigarette product use among Vermont youth. Visit Counterbalancevt.com – Join CounterBalance on Facebook

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