On Monday, March 19th, 2018, students from Bishop Union High School and Lone Pine High School were invited to the Capitol in Sacramento to represent their local Youth Coalition in an event called “Youth Quest.” Youth Quest is an annual event hosted by California Youth Advocacy Network (CYAN) to celebrate and promote youth advocacy in tobacco control. CYAN changes the tobacco use culture in California’s high schools, colleges and universities, military installations, and other youth and young adult communities by providing knowledge, skills, and tools to create local change for healthier communities.
Youth Quest provides an opportunity for youth advocates to demonstrate their commitment to a tobacco-free California, learn about current tobacco control efforts, and build their advocacy skills by sharing their local work with legislators. Each year, CYAN’s Youth Board of Directors selects a tobacco-related theme for Youth Quest that is particularly important to youth. The 2018 theme was, “A Healthy California Starts with Tobacco Free YOU(TH).” Since 80% of 12-17 year olds who have ever used tobacco initiated tobacco use with a flavored product, an area of focus for local youth tobacco control advocacy is the use of flavored tobacco products.
At Youth Quest, students from all over California get to meet their local assembly member to inform them of what they have done throughout the school year to stay tobacco-free and how tobacco and other drugs impact their school and the community. Bishop and Lone Pine Youth Coalition members had the wonderful opportunity to meet Devon Mathis, Assembly Member representing Inyo County. For the meeting, Youth Coalition members joined other students whose counties are also represented by Devon Mathis to explain how flavors play a significant role in drawing youth to tobacco products.