Scott County Sends 15 students to JEL Summit in Ames

Davenport, Iowa –15 teens from Scott County took a STAND against Big Tobacco at the Just Eliminate Lies (JEL) youth summit July 15 – 17 on the Iowa State University Campus in Ames. The students from Scott County were among 500 other teens from 80 of Iowa’s 99 counties for the fourth annual JEL summit, which is organized by the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Division of Tobacco Use Prevention & Control.

"This year’s summit was a great success," says Randi Huffman JEL coordinator. "The support and response we have received throughout Iowa, including Scott County, has been tremendous. JEL and the Iowa tobacco control effort would not be where it is today without the work of the teens in Scott County."

While at the summit the students participated in three days of interactive sessions facilitated by the teens who make up the JEL executive council. The sessions were designed to stimulate discussion and develop strategies to reduce tobacco use among teens through education, grass-roots activity and counter-marketing.

A session focusing on tobacco industry manipulation of teens generated the most interest among the JEL Summit participants. During the session teens learned how tobacco companies target today’s youth to maintain and increase their customer base. A recent study by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids found that 11.5 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked illegally by Iowa kids each year.

In Scott County, teens meet monthly to plan events and activities to educate members of the community about the tobacco industry's strategies to recruit young tobacco users. They have hosted booths at health fairs, presented at the Quad City Youth conference and marched the Capitol to talk to their legislators about tobacco-related issues. These local teens are known as F.I.S.T. (Future in Stopping Tobacco) and they are committed to reducing the number of youth who choose to use tobacco products. Teens in Scott County are welcome to participate.

JEL activities and other tobacco use prevention and control activities are funded by the State of Iowa from the Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco industry and administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health.