Posts Tagged ‘Students Taking a New Direction’

Youth Conference Highlights Tobacco Prevention Efforts

June 3rd, 2015

Stand_Logo3_KStudents Taking a New Direction (STAND) is gearing up for its sixth annual youth conference.  Each year STAND members from around the state converge in Phoenix to celebrate their efforts for the year and to learn about new ways to combat tobacco.  The celebration highlights a three-day conference designed by STAND members to increase leadership skills and inspire future efforts.

Nationally known anti-tobacco speakers highlight the conference every year.  This year teens will hear from activists La Tanisha Wright and Samuel Allen.  Wright, a former tobacco trade retail manager, was responsible for building and maintaining relationships with tobacco retailers in the Detroit area.  She witnessed firsthand how the industry targets youth and minorities and now speaks out nationally against the deceptive tactics of the industry.  Allen designed the now infamous and internationally recognized “truth” brand and subsequent campaigns which is still considered by many experts as the most effective social change campaign in the last three decades.

Teens will also attend sessions on public speaking, industry tactics, health effects, the effects of addiction, and community advocacy. Additionally, we will be holding our third annual award gala to showcase some outstanding STAND individuals and groups who have gone beyond the call to action in their local communities.  The conference will take place June 11 through 13.

STAND Success Story

March 11th, 2015

Stand_Logo3_KTobacco use is responsible for thousands of deaths in Arizona every year – more than 8,000 according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free KidsSecondhand smoke also takes a toll on the health of those exposed.  Eliminating the danger of secondhand smoke is a big part of the Smoke Free Arizona voter initiative.  Passed in 2006, it focuses on enclosed public places, but doesn’t include open air places such as parks.

That’s changing in some areas thanks to the work of some hard working teens – Arizona STAND (Students Taking A New Direction) is working to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in parks.  Just this month the Cottonwood City Council voted to create designated smoking areas in parks based on the work of the youth.  This isn’t the first victory for STAND.  Since it started in 2012, STAND has shown great initiative in helping kids avoid tobacco.  Besides working with local governments to limit secondhand smoke exposure, our youth are educating policymakers about their work, encouraging kids and adults to not start smoking or quit if they already do, and working to make not smoking the cool choice.

Arizona’s made great progress in helping people who want to stop using tobacco.  There was more than a 15% decrease in smokers from 2011 to 2013, and we’re now at an all-time low with a smoking rate of 16.3%.  Research shows that most people who smoke want to quit.  If you are interested in quitting tobacco, please visit or call 1-800-55-66-222 for free counseling.


AZ Smokes the Field

June 15th, 2012

AZ had the biggest % decrease in teen smoking rates in the country according to the new CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey this week. Smoking rates among AZ teens dropped 12% in the last couple of years- while rates generally stayed flat across the country.  That’s 11,000 fewer teen tobacco users between 2009 and 2011.  About half of the teenagers in AZ that smoke tried to quit in the last year too.  

We attribute our success to an array of evidence-based interventions that our statewide team has implemented over the last 3 years or so. We did test marketing of messages with teen focus groups about 5 years ago- developed a strategic plan right after that and then implemented our new evidence based program for teen prevention in early 2009. These efforts include the successful youth prevention campaign and the launch of the statewide youth coalition Students Taking a New Direction 

Venomocity focused on the fact that tobacco is addicting- and that addiction controls you. Teens don’t like to be controlled. So, instead of telling them not to smoke, we let them know that tobacco is addictive, it’ll addict them if they start, that addiction will then control them- threatening their goal of self-determination. Then, we meet them where they are- via the facebook, twitter, and other social media

This work goes to show you that careful research, strategic planning and creative implementation, along with continuous evaluation to make corrections works!