Hi, my name is Billy Haskey, I’m a sophomore at Newcomb High School and a second year Evolvement Member. Evolvement is a program led by high school students promoting a healthy New Mexico free from tobacco addiction.
The first step in being an Evolvement Member is going to training. At the training, I learned about the dangers of tobacco and how much it hurts people and communities. Tobacco is dangerous because it is really unhealthy and addictive. I learned the difference between traditional and commercial tobacco, and how the tobacco companies add chemicals to the products they sell to make it more addictive. Which I think is really wrong because it makes people sick. I have family members who use tobacco products, and it makes me feel really sad and mad that they use these products that are hurting them. I don’t like that the tobacco companies put chemicals in their products because it makes me worry about their health. I also know people at school that use vapes even though they get yelled at by teachers. I think they use vapes because they think it will help them when they are stressed but it really just gets them in trouble. At the training we learn how we can help stop the tobacco companies so we can protect people from the dangers of tobacco.
The second step of being an Evolvement member is completing a Training Project. The Training Project is when we have to go out and collect surveys for the campaigns that Evolvement works on. The first campaign is the 24/7 campaign which is working to make New Mexico schools 100% tobacco free. The second campaign is No Minor Sale which is working to stop the sale of tobacco to young people and restrict the flavors in tobacco products. We collect surveys to get people’s opinions about tobacco in their schools and their communities. It’s important that we collect these surveys so that we can understand what people care about. Once we know what they care about we can bring that information to the law makers and try to get them to understand that the people want policy change. At training, we learn how important policy change is and how exactly it can help stop tobacco because it makes rules against the tobacco companies’ tricks.
After training and doing the training project you become an Evolvement Member. As a member you can host events and do presentations to teach more people about the campaigns and the dangers of tobacco. I think this work is important so I plan on being a member all the way up to my senior year. I think more people should join Evolvement because then we have a better chance of the law makers listening to us.