Colusa Youth Advocates for Change (CYAC) spoke during a live segment on ABC 10’s Sac & Co in Sacramento, California on May 17
, 2019. During this segment, they discussed the impacts of secondhand smoke, thirdhand smoke, tobacco issues in the environment, and their plans to continue CYAC’s work into the future. This segment opportunity was provided as part of a media campaign for the Colusa County Tobacco Education Program.
Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, CYAC members were focused on addressing the tobacco litter and secondhand smoke issues in public places, such as parks. CYAC also took interest in issues of secondhand smoke around the home, particularly around those populations that are more disadvantaged and have higher chances of being exposed. To build upon their knowledge and experiences from the year, CYAC members conducted a brainstorming workshop to determine the topics they wanted to bring attention to during this segment. They were also trained on media advocacy and its importance in raising community awareness. Youth members were excited about the opportunity to educate about the topics they are passionate about on live television. Edgar, a Colusa High School junior, spoke about secondhand smoke on the segment:
“You’re affecting people without giving them necessarily the choice, it’s flowing in through apartments and they aren’t conscious of the smoke, and the smoke has over 7,000 chemicals, some of them can be cancer-causing. It can lead to respiratory problems, it can lead to lung cancer, and even death.”
When asked about their work in Colusa County, they discussed their organized park clean-ups and education in the community. “Our main goal really is to educate ourselves and then spread that information to our community so they can make informed decisions about tobacco and smoking.” CYAC is making their presence known in the community and Colusa County is there to support them. This segment was a significant step to help their voice be heard as well as plan for the future.
Recruitment has been one of the more difficult pursuits for CYAC, with only four active current members. However, CYAC members are passionate about their work and have a plan for growth. When asked about their plans for next year, CYAC member Alejandra, a Colusa High School junior, stated that they hope to continue their work with tobacco and “expand our group and continue the legacy by recruiting more members.”