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Air pollution linked to coal plants more deadly than previously thought; Israel-Hamas truce extends as aid reaches Gaza; high school seniors face big college application challenges.

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House Republicans differ on January 6th footage, Speaker Johnson says any Ukraine funding must include changes to border policy and former New Jersey Governor Christie says former President Trump is fueling anti-Semitism and hate.

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Rural low income youth, especially boys, experience greater economic mobility than those in cities, a new government rule should help level the playing field for small poultry growers, and the Kansas Governor wants her state to expand Medicaid.

VA Groups Aim to Reduce Youth Tobacco Use

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Friday, May 19, 2023   

Virginia groups are using different methods to warn young people about the dangers of smoking.

Along with tobacco-free parks, the state has taken things to a legislative level to prevent youth from using tobacco. In 2022, House Bill 685 aimed to prevent the sale of tobacco products to Virginians under age 21.

The bill failed in committee. But the group "Henrico Too Smart 2 Start" has taken a collaborative approach through its social media "Influence the Influencers" contest.

Terrell Pollard, board chair of the Henrico Too Smart 2 Start, described the contest's goals.

"The contest is to see what youth can earn the most 'likes' through a youth-created video about not using substances," said Pollard. "And it does two things: One, incentivizes youth to be a part of youth substance use prevention strategies, as well as flood social media with healthy, positive messages."

He said the idea stems from the increased substance-use issues that arose during the pandemic.

A 2022 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration found more than three million kids across the U.S. use tobacco products.

Going forward, Pollard said he hopes to make this an annual contest to bolster the group's mission of youth tobacco-use prevention. However, he said there will be changes made to this contest in years to come.

"Because of the collaborative nature that the videos were created, we want to move to a format where we're offering prizes to a group of students," said Pollard. "So, it could be a school club, a school itself. We wanted to encourage that collaboration."

The "Influence the Influencers" winners will be decided during the second week in June.


Disclosure: Henrico Too Smart 2 Start contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Children's Issues, Health Issues, Smoking Prevention. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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