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- World No-Tobacco Day on May 31 Brings Reminder Not to Give or Sell Cigarettes to Underage Youth –

Providing cigarettes and tobacco products to underage youth is a really bad way to be nice.

That’s the message the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is sending in the week leading up to World No-Tobacco Day on May 31. The worldwide awareness day is designed to highlight the health risks of tobacco use, and this year’s focus is on ending the illicit trade of tobacco products.

Locally, people can do their part by refusing to give or sell cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19 years. Not only is this practice illegal (people can face a $365 fine for supplying tobacco to underage teens), but it can also lead to bad results, according to a Health Unit nurse.

“If you figure you are being nice by giving or selling a cigarette to a teen, think again,” says Karen Taylor, a Public Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “By providing cigarettes or other tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19 years, you are feeding a lifelong addiction to nicotine that can have serious long-term health consequences.”

The message not to give or sell cigarettes to underage teens is particularly important for young adults in their early- to mid-20s. According to Taylor, this age group is frequently the one that provides cigarettes to underage teens, be they a younger friend or sibling. Research found that young adults 19 to 25 years of age who gave tobacco products to underage teens did so because they wanted to be nice and thought it was the easiest thing to do.

The Bad Ways to Be Nice awareness campaign was created to counteract those beliefs. Bad Ways to Be Nice is an interactive campaign featuring videos, online ads, social media posts and other resources aimed at educating and encouraging adults not to supply anyone under the age of 19 years with cigarettes and other tobacco products.

“Bad Ways to Be Nice fits in perfectly with this year’s theme for World No-Tobacco Day,” says Taylor. “It’s all about encouraging adults to say ‘no’ to requests for cigarettes from underage teenagers.”

For people who want to quit smoking, there are a variety of free resources, counselling and nicotine replacement therapies available to help them break their tobacco addiction. To find out more, local residents can call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2240, or click here.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Karen Taylor, Public Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569, ext. 2240.

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