Kent Barron: Support N-CTRL |

Kent Barron: Support N-CTRL

In the 2009-10 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 31 percent of Steamboat Springs High School boys reported using smokeless tobacco in the previous 30 days. As a local teen and student at Steamboat Springs High School, I find this to be an alarming statistic. I often walk to the water fountains in the hallways to be faced with a pouch of "Snus"— a non-cigarette tobacco product that is a pouch of tobacco you can insert in your mouth and obscure the fact that you are using tobacco. I also have been faced with spit from chew and dip in the water fountains, and have walked into the restroom to find students using chew, dip and snuff.

Many people think that non-cigarette tobacco is healthier or better than cigarettes; but it is hard to uphold that throught with the following information: According to a National Center for Biotechnology Information Study, "Smokeless tobacco use appears to be an important predictor of smoking initiation among young adult males." In other words, many young adults who choose to use non-cigarette tobacco, like the ones in our high school, will end up smoking cigarettes in the future. Another alarming piece of factual information about tobacco is that it's the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S, killing more people than alcohol use, illegal drug use, motor vehicle accidents, murders, suicide and AIDS combined.

These statistics to me are very scary, and they stick with me when I think about those who use tobacco. Luckily, there is a solution to this problem. It is the local initiative, N-CTRL, that is being led by the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition and the Steamboat Springs Teen Council, of which I am a part.

The Steamboat Springs Teen Council is a group of teens who are very passionate about seeing teens have an impact in the community. As a council, our vision is to give teens a voice in our community, and our mission is to demonstrate that teens are valuable assets and care about matters that affect teens and the community. We seek to raise awareness about issues important to teens and enable their voices to be heard. We hope to accomplish this by educating the community about who we are through events, community service, surveys and forums, and to serve as a channel and resource for the benefit of all teens; thus creating a win-win situation the provides common ground for teens and adults.

N-CTRL is a local initiative to license non-cigarette tobacco retailers in the city of Steamboat Springs to limit youth access to tobacco. The small annual fee for this non-cigarette tobacco retailer license will be used to make sure retailers are not selling non-cigarette tobacco to anyone younger than 18.

Join the initiative, attend one of our petition events or like us on Facebook at N-CTRL. Good for youth. Good for Steamboat.

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Kent Barron

On behalf of the Steamboat Springs Teen Council

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