Miss Montana’s Excellent Teen is standing up for what she believes in, taking her anti-vaping message straight to the halls of her state authorities.
Annika Bennion, of Sidney, is the founding father of No NicoTeen America, a youth group that promotes schooling in regards to the risks of vaping, in addition to offering data and assist associated to well being and vaping. Bennion testified earlier than Montana’s Senate on April 14 towards Montana Senate Invoice 398, a invoice that might forestall native communities from prohibiting the sale of vape merchandise. The listening to was heard by the Home Enterprise and Labor Committee. Bennion spoke on the hazards of teenybopper vaping, and the way vape merchandise are focusing on younger adults.
Bennion shared photos from a current go to to vape form, the place fruity flavors have been marketed with cartoon characters, which she says makes them particularly attractive to youngsters.
“These vapes aren’t being marketed behind counters the place solely adults see them,” Bennion mentioned in her testimony. “They’re being marketed to youngsters in public. And we’re very conscious.”
Bennion mentioned many individuals that she is aware of started vaping at a younger age, noting that 30 % of Montana’s teenagers vape, in comparison with solely six % of adults. With little illustration for her age group, Bennion mentioned she hopes she will be able to convey a youthful voice to the desk and assist curb the state’s teen vape utilization.
“Having that teen voice is basically essential, and it hasn’t actually been in politics as a lot accurately.” she instructed the Williston Herald.
Bennion selected the difficulty as her platform for Miss Montana’s Excellent Teen, saying it is likely one of the most essential issues affecting her technology. Like cigarettes impacted the earlier technology, she defined, vaping is now affecting in the present day’s youth in related methods.
“This might be the time to nip it within the bud,” she mentioned. “Earlier than folks go on to have 40 years value of issues.”
Whereas a vote on SB 398 has not been taken, Bennion obtained an encouraging message from Willis Curdy, Home Dist. 98 consultant from Missoula. The e-mail shared Curdy’s assist for Bennion’s efforts and applauded her braveness to talk up.
“I used to be very impressed by your presentation and your response to questions from members of the Home Enterprise and Labor Committee,” Curdy’s electronic mail learn. “As a retired 30 yr public highschool trainer in Missoula, I’m properly conscious of the inflow and affect of flavored vapes in our center and excessive faculties. I’m adamantly against SB 398. We have to defend our kids.”
Along with her Fb and Instagram campaigns, Bennion has produced a number of anti-vaping PSAs in addition to having a number of billboard campaigns all through the state selling the message.