By Judy Hagerott
No sports rivalry here as students from Gillette and Sheridan linked arms at a rally at Main and Grinnell in downtown Sheridan last evening. Sheridan High School’s “We are the Change” (WAC) and Gillette’s PRIDE youth groups joined thousands of kids across the nation who were taking part in Kick Butts Day, in an effort to fight youth tobacco use.
More than 25 students took part using their voices “To Stand Up…Speak Out…and Seize Control Against Big Tobacco.” WAC President Amanda Delk said, “Youth can make a difference. Youth have the biggest voice and can make a choice now not to smoke.”
The protest rally did get results, some good and some not so good. Students held signs asking motorists to honk in support, which many downtown motorists did, but others threw cigarette butts, yelled and made gestures to the kids as they tried to make their stand.
Youth are being targeted by Big Tobacco as “replacement customers,” replacing the nearly 400,000 Americans that die each year from tobacco use. Tobacco use is a leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people each year. The Sheridan youth wore black T-shirts bearing the number 58 on the back representing the 58 Wyoming residents who die from tobacco-related illnesses every month.
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