Youth follow concerts to talk to young people about tobacco

Aug. 15, 2013 at 1:50 AM
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Members of the Truth Tour -- young people talking to other young people about tobacco -- say wherever concerts go they follow to talk to their peers.

This week they are in New York. A big orange van was set up shop in the parking lot of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., during a day-long festival of rock bands including Jane's Addiction and Alice in Chains "to spread the facts about tobacco," WNYT-TV in Albany, N.Y., reported.

Alexandra Klos, a Truth Tour rider, tells a couple of local high school students how in one year, about 12,000 kids lost their moms to a tobacco-related disease or that each year, 400,000 U.S. adults die from tobacco.

The members of the Truth Tour talk one-on-one with the concertgoers, hand out T-shirts, play games and spread facts about smoking.

"I think it's a lot better. Honestly I mean it gives kids a reason to take it in. If they're just sitting in a classroom, they're probably not going to listen," Reese Freeman of Ballston Spa told WYNT-TV.

Sometimes the task can seem daunting speaking to young people about smoking one at a time.

"The American Journal of Preventive Medicine said the first two-years of truth saved us as much as $5.4 billion in added healthcare costs and in the first four years kept 450,000 teens from becoming Big Tobacco's loyal customers," the Truth Tour's website said.

"Take into account that nearly a third of all youth smokers will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease and this translates into about 150,000 lives saved. So, truth is working."

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