We used to pick it - now they want us to smoke it!


This month: We must take back our communities from the Tobacco Industry!
November 12, 1996 / Volume 1 San Francisco African American Tobacco Free Project

Youth Take Action

A group of community minded youth in the Western Addition, Lakeview and Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhoods had the opportunity to participate in a one day advocacy workshop on how to recognize and document tobacco advertisment violations, in their neighborhoods.

A workshop was held in September at Polaris Research and Development, and one in October at The Boys and Girls Club in Double Rock. Carol McGruder, the program's coordinator, administered the training.

The days events were also fun for the kids; they had pizza and played games to learn more about tobacco and smoking. At the end of the training the kids returned to their communities, to collect the data.

The Tobacco Free Project not only enlightens kids about the dangers of smoking, it also teaches them responsibility and the importance of a job well done. It also helps them be aware of their community and how they too make a change. The goal of the program is to empower African American youth to change community norms about tobacco.

Trainings will continue later this month at various youth organizations around the city.

For more information about the training program, you can contact Carol McGruder or Debra Wilson at Polaris Research and Development, Inc., at (415) 777-3229

A Great Day for a Smokeout

For nearly twenty years the third Thursday in November has been observed nationwide as the Great American Smokeout. The day was created to encourage smokers to quit for 24 hours.

The focus of the day is to demonstrate to smokers and other tobacco users that if they can quit for one day, maybe they can quit forever.

An overwhelming number of children breathe secondhand smoke regularly. Each day, there are 3,000 American teenagers that start smoking; if teens can remain smoke free through high school, however, there is a good chance they will never start. Not only is smoking harmful, but the exposure to secondhand smoke makes children more vulnerable to colds and other upper-respiratory infections, and can even increase the risk of developing lung cancer later in life.

The day's events don't only teach awarness of the dangers of smoking - they also can be fun and filled with a variety of activites for kids and adults.

Carol McGruder , program coordinator for The African American Tobacco Free Project, is sponsoring the day's activites, on Thursday, November, 21st, 6:30 PM at Bayview Boys & Girls Club. Kids wanting to participate in the smokeout and win prizes must submit a one page essay handwritten or typed on "Why it is important to fight the tobacco industry's advertising in their community."

The top three essay winners will get movie tickets for two to see "Space Jam" with Michael Jordan. Pizza and other prizes will be given to all that participate.

Deadline to submit essay is Monday, November 18th, by 5:00PM.

The essay can be mailed to:

Polaris Research and Development, Inc.

Attn: Carol McGruder or Debra Wilson

185 Berry Street, Suite 4300, S.F., 94107

or Fax to: 415-512-9625