Tobacco Resistance Unit launched in Warren County

Warren has launched a Tobacco Resistance Unit.

According to Claire Coffin, regional tobacco health educator, the Tobacco Resistance Unit (TRU) is a youth movement in the state to “protect Pennsylvania’s youth from all tobacco and nicotine produces through community outreach, education, prevention, and cessation.”

The TRU movement was started through the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco (PACT), with the goal of getting youth across the state to act as peer educators for their friends and classmates about the risks of tobacco use.

A partnership between Adagio Health and the Northwest Tobacco Coalition, Coffin said, TRU in Warren County has been started to offer students age 12 to 18 an opportunity to model and educate others about the benefits of being tobacco and nicotine free. According to Coffin, 130,400 high school students in Pennsylvania are smokers, and 17,300 Pennsylvania youth will begin a habit of smoking daily each year. Over 800,000 Pennsylvania children are exposed to secondhand smoke at home, Coffin said.

“This organization is committed to prevent youth from ever starting to use tobacco,” said Coffin, “and to helping those who do smoke quit.” The goal is to get information to students about the risks of smoking and tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco and cigars. Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking, Coffin said, although many youth believe it to be. “TRU is committed to preventing tobacco and nicotine use by Pennsylvania youth and exposing Big Tobacco’s lies,” said PACT executive director Joy Blankley Meyer. “We know that through education, social media, and community outreach we can connect with youth in a meaningful way and change behaviors. And that means we will be saving lives and healthcare dollars.”

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