Teens unite at Kick Butts Day to fight tobacco companies

BOSTON (WWLP) – More than 42 million Americans are smokers. 22 News spoke with teenagers from Springfield that want to prevent the youth from becoming a part of that statistic.

Walk into any convenience store and you’ll see cigarettes right when you walk in. You have to be 18 years old to buy those, but new trends like the electronic cigarette and hookah pens are targeting the youth, and in some cities and towns, there’s no age requirement to buy them.

“If you’re four or five you can go right now and get one. It’s heartbreaking to hear something like that and you’re damaging a little kid’s future,” said Paola Mercado of the 84 Movement.

Teenagers from across Massachusetts united at the State House for Kick Butts Day. They want tobacco companies to stop marketing their product to the youth.

“My little sister of 12 years old is just going to be started into this generation because they’re targeting us with like, colorful wrappers, and bubble gum and blueberry,” said 84 Movement’s Zoee Forde.

These teenagers say it’s a problem in Springfield; they can’t even walk out of school without seeing wrappers on the ground. Teens from across the state say they want to help those younger than them so they don’t fall victim to tobacco advertising.

“I want to go around helping all the children because I love them. That’s my community and I don’t want to see the kids of my community go down the toilet for a hookah pen. A profit for a company, not even yourself,” said Hydeia Terry of the 84 Movement.

Technically, anybody, at any age can purchase and use an e-cigarette right now in Springfield, but each city and town has its own rules and restrictions.

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