(Brampton) – Fourteen high-school students from Brampton and Mississauga returned from last weekend’s provincial Smoke-Free Youth Summit energized and poised to take assertive action to prevent their generation from taking up smoking.
The Peel students, who represented Peel Health and their various high schools, were joined by 300 other young people from Ontario at the conference at the Double Tree International Plaza and Hotel in Mississauga. Together, they shared ideas and developed a plan to bring back to the local community. Part of the Peel plan is called “extinguish,” a youth-led advocacy group that will work not only to prevent youth from starting to smoke and help those who smoke to quit, but also to raise awareness about the manipulative tactics of the tobacco industry.
“The tobacco industry in Canada targets youth every day,” said Mohsin Yousuf, a Grade 9 student at Turner Fenton in Brampton. “This tobacco youth summit really motivated me to take a stand against the tobacco industry and to stop the manipulation.”
The 14 Peel students who participated in the summit are all part of Peel Health’s “extinguish” advocacy group. The group’s slogan, “They trick. They kill. They lie. Let’s extinguish the source,” is part of a grassroots effort that will be taken to middle and high schools throughout Brampton and Mississauga over the next year. These determined youth will work to engage and motivate their peers to join with them in their quest for a smoke-free Ontario.
“It was impactful to be with 300 youth with a strong and clear message of rebellion against the tobacco industry,” said Ryan Chang, a Grade 11 student at Turner-Fenton. “We were able to show we will no longer be a statistic to these companies – we will take action!”
“Extinguish” is a peer-to-peer education and advocacy program of Peel Health. For more information, call 905-799-7700.