Kansas teens encourage lawmakers to 'Take Down Tobacco'

Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 2:01 PM CST
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Over 200 students from across Kansas gathered at the Statehouse Thursday to encourage lawmakers to 'Take Down Tobacco.'

Resist Tobacco and the American Cancer Society hosted the rally.

The students got a chance to talk with their legislators and urge them to stop the spread of smoking and vaping among young people, by voting in favor of a new bill.

The proposed bill would increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21, and ban cigarette vending machines and flavored vaping products.

A few high school students at Wednesday's rally talked about why this cause is so important.

Kati Woltje, junior at Jackson Heights High School said, "As I see our students at Jackson Heights, they use a lot of tobacco products and that's what their go-to is and I think we should try to prevent that from happening in our school."

"Young people as we move into adulthood we like to explore new things and try new things and some of the things we try are not good for us," said Levi Parrett, sophomore at Rural Valley High School. "Like with nicotine and tobacco, they get you really addicted and that could lead to worse life decisions."

Holton High School junior, Marcus Pruett, is involved in his local Resist Tobacco chapter. He said, "Madison Taliaferro had cystic fibrosis and she passed away and her message was 'Breathe with a Purpose' and she basically started our whole Resist chapter and she is what we base ourselves off of. We do everything for her."

The 2019 National Youth Tobacco survery found 22% of high school students in Kansas use e-cigarettes, and 5.8% smoke cigarettes.