Are tobacco products delicious? Or “Manipulicious”? To Milwaukee’s young Fighting Against Corporate Tobacco (FACT) members, the tobacco industry’s youthfully packaged, candy-flavored tobacco products are more “Manipulicious” than they are delicious. The teens recently convened at the Washington Park Library to vote on outreach strategies to implement in their schools. During the engaging meeting participants expressed their feelings through art, making posters and T-shirts to wear in school.
FACT was created for and by Wisconsin teens. The youth-led movement gives teens ages 13 to 18 an opportunity to use their voices to fight back against the tobacco industry’s marketing techniques. “Manipulicious” is the name of the FACT movement’s latest activism campaign, and the young people are enthusiastically ready to spread the word that underneath the colorful, kid-friendly wrapping of the chewing tobacco, little cigars and other tobacco products you’ll find many of the same poisonous, cancer causing chemicals.
“When I participated in the Wisconsin Wins program to help make sure stores don’t sell tobacco to minors, I was really surprised that one of the stores we went to sold tobacco to my friend after checking his I.D. twice and seeing that he was under 18. That really made me want to get involved with FACT,” said Angellic Ross, 17.
With support from adults, the youth will participate in summer activities to educate their peers and the community. “The youth really take ownership of tobacco related issues,” said Billy, Spencer, Youth Coordinator, Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network. “I am so proud of our FACT members; they had fun learning about how the tobacco industry targets them, and I’m confident that they’ll share their knowledge with friends,” he said.
“As teens, we are sick of being the tobacco industry’s target, and we are committed to taking a stand by fighting with FACT,” said Rajahnae Smith, 15.
The Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN) is currently recruiting FACT members ages 13-18.
For more information, contact the WAATPN at 888- 9WAATPN (888-992-2876) or visit www.waatpn.org.