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It is hard to believe there was once a time when smoking inside of places like restaurants, hotels and sports venues was allowed. I can’t imagine walking into my favorite restaurant and being greeted by a cloud of cancer-causing smoke. This past July marked the 8th anniversary of the date Wisconsin’s statewide smoke-free air law took effect and I’m so thankful for that. Wisconsin’s smoke-free air law protects workers and customers from the dangers of secondhand smoke in public places, which I enjoy, as it allows everyone to be able to breathe easier in restaurants, as well as makes the air smell fresh, and not be filled by the harmful, smelly, secondhand smoke filled air.

Upon the banning of cigarettes in public places, I noticed that tobacco use seemed to have gone down, but with the rising popularity of E-Cigarettes and JUULS, I have noticed that they have started to become more prominent in public. While I am not bothered as much as others, I know it is still difficult for some to breathe with E-Cigs and JUULS around. Through FACT, our group works to educate our peers on the harmful side effects of tobacco and works to drop the teen tobacco usage statistics. Through the education of our school through FACTivisms like the 12 Days of FACTmas and locker posters, we have started by educating our peers in school, and hope our message spreads throughout the public. I feel it is important to educate my peers about this because our generation has the potential to be the first smoke-free generation.

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In the coming new year, I want to continue to keep the air smoke-free. As a member of FACT, a youth-driven movement of Wisconsin teens spreading the truth about tobacco, I hope to educate our community about the benefits of the smoke-free air law. To learn more about the work of FACT groups throughout the state, visit FACTmovement.org.

Gracelyn Footit, Mauston High School FACT

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