Teen Steps Up To Help Prevent Under Age Smoking

LINCOLN, Neb. -- On an average summer day, you can catch teenage girls hanging out with their friends. However, for one Lincoln teen, she has a mission to help her friends and peers learn the negative effects of smoking tobacco--a challenge, 15-year-old Leila Alohaid said is worthwhile.

"I see E-cigs all the time at my school and kids are getting them confiscated," Alohaid said. "But they think they're cool because [of the] technology and their flavors."

Alohaid is apart of No Limits Nebraska, a teen-led group that helps prevent kids from using tobacco and other drugs. To make education fun and impactful, she said she showed a group of students a tic-tac and a candy-like tobacco side-by-side. No one knew the difference. Alohaid said that's when it sinks in to students, that they need to be aware of what they're consuming.

"[Teens] don't realize they're being manipulated by tobacco companies packaging," said No Limit's project coordinator, Molly Kincaid. With bright colored packaging and different flavors, Kincaid said it entices teenagers to use tobacco company products.

Large tobacco companies produce hundreds of e-cigarette flavors each week, including: cotton candy, banana split, and vanilla.

Alohaid said she's seen a group of her classmates smoke after school, and she hopes with her actions, that will change.

"Go to the pool instead of smoking tobacco," said Alohaid. "Change life for the better."

This past spring, the Nebraska Legislature banned anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing e-cigarettes. In addition, Lincoln Public Schools banned e-cigarettes at schools and school-related events.

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