Hello, my name is Grace Burton. I live in Stilwell, Oklahoma, and I am a junior at Stilwell High School. YAHL stands for Youth Action for Health Leadership. YAHL is a program that promotes a tobacco-free, healthy lifestyle by promoting comprehensive retail licensing for vapes & strengthening school wellness policies. What I hope to get out of YAHL are opportunities for leadership and to promote a tobacco-free lifestyle for youth around me. Kids my age are getting addicted to using nicotine way too young. Vapes and alcohol are very popular with today’s youth. I believe YAHL can help the growing problem of substance addiction.
Why is vaping unhealthy? Vapes contain nicotine and other potentially harmful ingredients such as ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. This is dangerous because vaping can lead to higher risks of getting lung disease and lung cancer. Kids experiencing anxiety from school, or toxic home life situations, are most likely to be exposed to these products. YAHL can help because there are opportunities to reach these young children and get the word out that vaping is becoming a problem with these young children. Young children may not listen to adults but tend to look up to older teens, like myself, who this program is led by. Community members can help by supporting the policies the YAHL program is trying to promote.
Alcohol is toxic for youth in many ways. People under the age of 21 have brains that are not fully developed, which can lead to alcoholism. Some of the following are risks that come with alcohol addiction are: High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, & digestive problems. Teens with family members who are addicted to alcohol are more at risk than others to use alcohol. YAHL can help this issue by reaching these children on social media by showing them how to live healthy and why it is important. Community members can help by supporting the policies that YAHL are trying to promote.
I am passionate about trying to get youth tobacco-free. As a YAHL member it is our duty to help these kids who got addicted way too young. You can learn more by following YAHL on Instagram @yahloklahoma, or by checking out the website at www.yahlok.org.