Students Against Nicotine, Inc.
My name is Jack Waxman, and I am a freshman at Cornell University. I am invested in learning about nicotine addiction and working through educational, political, and social means to prevent it amongst my peers. I have advocated for common-sense legislation in Westchester, Albany, and Washington. I have also created media content such as JUULERS AGAINST JUUL, which has been featured in media outlets such as The Washington Post, Good Morning America, ABC Nightline, Women's Health Magazine, NPR, Yahoo News, NBC News, ABC News, and NY Daily News. Meanwhile, I have partnered with schools and organizations to bring much-needed education to kids and parents on nicotine and the health consequences of e-cigarettes, as there is still much disinformation surrounding the topic.
At Cornell, I have connected with several students who are now working with me on the three initiatives I explain below. We want to found a University Organization here on campus titled Students Against Nicotine, whose vision is a nicotine-free youth population, achieved through education, legislative action and advocacy, and connecting with like-minded organizations, community members, and (most importantly) students nationwide. An official set-up such as the University Organization will give us the structure needed to develop any successful project. We also hope this status will allow us to connect with other passionate students and receive funding from the school and other groups. What we are most excited about, however, will be the opportunity to create an advisory board composed of professors at Cornell. We hope to prove to our professors here at Cornell that we are worthy of their valuable time. Here are three focuses for Students Against Nicotine for the next two years: YOUth Decide, Flavor Ban, and Like Father, Like Son.
1.YOUth Decide (Educational): YOUth Decide is a board game, facilitated discussion, and three-part lesson plan all wrapped into one that was created by founding members of Students Against Nicotine to educate youth on tobacco-related health disparities and empower them to take a STAND against the tobacco industry through further involvement. To quote the Instructions: “People still have freedom of choice, but when it comes down to it, people are most likely going to choose tobacco if they are constantly exposed to it.” By the end of the game, students will understand how the tobacco industry manipulatively markets their products by targeting certain groups of people. We envision YOUth Decide as an engaging and informative tool that health teachers will use to teach their students about nicotine addiction.
2. Flavor Ban (Political): Flavor Ban relates to prohibiting the sale and distribution of flavored e-liquid for use in e-cigarettes. This legislative initiative will allow venders to sell tobacco e-liquid and menthol e-liquid, but will prevent venders from selling all other flavors such as mango e-liquid or mint e-liquid. San Francisco enacted a Flavor Ban in June 2018; places such as El Cerrito, CA and Oakland, CA had previously passed such policy. In 2009, Congress passed Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which banned all flavored cigarettes. However, largely because e-cigarettes were largely unknown in 2009, e-cigarettes were exempted from this ban on flavors. Big Tobacco 2.0 (vape companies) are now exploiting this loophole to addict our generation on nicotine and create lifelong nicotine customers.
3. Like Father, Like Son (Social): In order to understand Like Father, Like Son, we must put it inthe same context of “Juulers Against Juul.” “Juulers Against Juul” had an empathetically antithetical nicotine addiction message. In order to make this message resonate with our viewers, we decided to focus on kids that are addicted to Juul. We envision the same empathetically antithetical nicotine addiction message for Like Father, Like Son, but we hope to accomplish it somewhat differently: Instead of just focusing on kids and e-cigarettes, we are going to interview adults and the content will likely include cigarettes. We hope to explore the similarities between cigarettes and e-cigarettes and draw eerie comparisons that make young kids feel uncomfortable about using e-cigarettes. We will look at how these adults started using cigarettes for the same reasons kids start using e-cigarettes and we will examine the way cigarettes were viewed by 20th century society, making a commentary on the emerging stigmatization of cigarettes. However, like “Juulers Against Juul”, Like Father, Like Son will focus on the need to remove the flavors. We will key in on nicotine addiction and flavors, looking at the flavors as the “hook.” “The flavors draw kids in, and the nicotine forces them to stay” should be a major takeaway.