[December, 2014, Londonderry, VT] — Vermonters have a new resource to talk to children about the influence of the tobacco industry in retail stores. Counter Balance launched earlier this fall by the Vermont Department of Health to educate parents and raise awareness about how the tobacco industry targets youth with advertising in the retail environment, and how to help prevent the next generation of tobacco users. This highly visual campaign utilizes multiple channels including broadcast television, web, and social media.
Counter Balance’s primary focus is to counter the tobacco industry’s influence on Vermont’s youth. 70% of youth visit convenience stores at least once a week. Retail stores are the primary place where tobacco companies recruit new tobacco users, and nearly 90% of those new users are underage youth.
The Collaborative, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health, is promoting the Counter Balance resource to help reduce local youth tobacco use and raise awareness about tobacco companies marketing to Vermont youth. 13% of area High School students report smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days (Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2013 for Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union). Vermont’s goal is to reduce youth tobacco use rates to 10% by 2020.
Reducing smoking rates takes a multi-pronged approach including working with youth to make healthy choices. Talking with youth about tobacco companies’ marketing efforts targeting youth is a key prevention tool to help youth make healthy choices. Parents, teachers, community members the challenge is now to take a moment and converse with the youth in your life and speak with them about your expectations of remaining tobacco free and how tobacco companies target them.
The central hub of the campaign is the new website counterbalancevt.com, which includes educational facts, tobacco industry tactics, research, tips and sharable information. In addition, social media will play a key role in building awareness and educating parents about the impact tobacco advertising and promotion has on Vermont’s youth. The launch of the brand, website and social media outreach is just the first phase of a longer-term initiative in Vermont.
88% of adult smokers began smoking by the age of 18. Every day in the United States, more than 3,000 youth under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette – and over 400 Vermont youth become daily smokers every year. Youth exposure to tobacco marketing is directly correlated to youth tobacco use, with an estimated one-third of teenage smoking experimentation resulting from tobacco advertising.
The bottom line: the more often kids are exposed to tobacco advertising, the more likely they are to start smoking.
Counter Balance provides Vermonters with facts, tips, downloadable information to share, as well as opportunities to help spread the word to help prevent youth tobacco use. It’s time to end tobacco’s influence on Vermont’s kids. For more resources and information, visit counterbalancevt.com, thecollaborative.us or call The Collaborative 802-824-4200.
If you’re between 18 and 25, take a few minutes and fill out the 2014 Vermont Young Adult Survey.
Your opinion on substance use counts, AND you could win a cash prize of up to $250!
The Vermont Department of Health, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs, and The Collaborative thank you for making your voice heard and helping us make Vermont a healthier state!
Students Against Destructive Decisions and OVX group went out in the Manchester area to help spread the knowledge of the legal ramifications of buying for a minor. Thank you to participating stores; Kilburn’s, Discount Beverage, Mac’s Market, Shaw’s, Price Chopper, Maple Fields, Short Stop, and Stewarts!
There is a false perception that exists in our communities that the majority of people believe. The perception is that, “Everyone is doing it.” Everyone is doing it. In my many conversations around teen alcohol use, had both with teens and adults, I hear that line being used. Both teens and adults in our community believe that everyone is doing it. Everyone meaning teens. And it meaning alcohol.
Teens have a perception that the vast majority of their peers are using alcohol. Adults have a perception that the vast majority of teens are using alcohol. According to Dictionary.com, the primary definition of perception is “the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding.” With that definition in mind, the following conclusion can be made: something is plain off with our powers of perception.
According to The Collaborative’s 2012 Community Survey data collected this spring, 45% of adults in our communities believe that teens consume alcohol monthly, and an additional 25% of adults believe that teens are weekly drinkers. Every year, The Collaborative runs an incentivized substance abuse prevention education program called Refuse To Use (RTU). All of the middle and high schools in the Northshire and Mountain communities participate in RTU. Last year, over 400 7th-12th grade students. RTU participants are surveyed annually and here is what their 2011-2012 RTU survey data reveals. 51% of students have not consumed alcohol at all. When asked the number of times students consumed alcohol in the last 30 days, 82% said none and 12% report 1-3 times.
Obviously, something is going on with our perception. Not only do adults in our communities believe that teens are using alcohol more frequently than they actually are, but teen perception is also off. When asked if they believed their peers drank alcohol, 89% of RTU participants said yes.
So what do we do to close the gap between what both teens and adults perceive to be the true (in this case that the vast majority of teens in our communities use alcohol) and the truth (that the majority of teens do not use alcohol)? How do we fix what is off with our perception? While I am not a medical professional, I will advise the following prescription issued from my own experience—Don’t believe everything your mind tells you, taken with face-to-face communication with teens in our community.
If we can all stop taking the easy route to finding an answer—which is to believe what our minds, our faulty perception centers, tell us—than we will be forced to seek out the truth for ourselves. We will find the truth by asking our communities’ teens what they do or do not do when it comes to alcohol. In asking these questions, we not only correct our false perceptions regarding teen alcohol use, but we will help the teens to correct their false perception of their peers’ alcohol use as well.
Imagine for a moment what our community would be like if we all knew in our hearts what was to be true, that the majority of teens do not use alcohol, instead of being advised by an illusion that the vast majority of them are. Take a moment to imagine the possibilities and go from there.
Select Fridays from 6:30-8:45 PM
Open to 6th-8th Grade Students
Each night will have wacky gym games and prizes (including iTunes gift cards and gift certificates to Village Picture Shows and Spiral Scoops)! Before playing gym games, an educational workshop will be offered. Friday Fun Fest nights are open to all area 6th, 7th and 8th grade middle students. Friday Fun Fest nights that occur after the school year ends will also be open to future 6th grade students and recently graduated 8th grade students.
May 25th @ Manchester Elementary Middle School
Wacky gym games. Presentation on Bullying and Healthy Relationships by Project Against Violent Encounters in Bennington
More info to come on June Friday Fun Fest nights! Also, teen volunteers are needed! Get community service hours while having fun! Contact Kerri for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 824-4200
Keep the conversation and message from the
Remember Alex Brown Foundation alive. To help keep you and others safe while driving there are some apps that help manage text messages while driving.
Drive Safely: This FREE app is a mobile application that reads text (SMS) messages and emails aloud in real time and automatically responds without drivers touching the mobile phone.
Text Toggle: This app is designed to intercept text messages while driving, and immediately reply to the sender with a personalized message.
Phone Guard: per hour as detected by global positioning satellite (GPS) tracking, This app locks the phone’s keyboard once the vehicle speed reaches 10 miles per hour preventing the user from emailing, surfing the web or texting while driving and automatically sends a customized pre-set response that is delivered to the texter or caller that reads, for example “I am driving and will contact you when I reach my destination.”
The Girls on the Run is a positive youth development program that inspires third though eighth grade girls to stay true to themselves and live free from societal stereotypes. For 10 weeks, girls will participate in lessons that empower girls to celebrate their bodies, honor their voice, and embrace their gifts while prepare for a 5k run. Girls on the Run, 3rd-5th grades, and Girls on Track, 6th-8th grades, starts March 5th and ends May 19th at a 5k race in Brattleboro. Girls meet after school twice a week for an hour and fifteen minutes where they will have fun, be informed and empowered, and build strength and confidence. Registration forms can be found at The Collaborative and the FBUS front office. Completed registration forms are due by March 1st. The cost of the program registration is $70. Through grant writing and fundraising The Collaborative can cover some of this expense.
We are asking each participant to pay a minimum of $25 and if you can contribute more or the full amount. Any extra money will go towards ensuring the continuity of this program in our community. The program is limited to 15 girls per program so acceptance is first come first serve. For more details contact Cara at 824-4200