When Teenagers In MA Started Tobacco Opposition

Chelsea February 24, 2014 0

We normally see adults advocating against tobacco. Apparently in Codman Square in Massachusetts 14 years ago, a group of youngsters started their tobacco opposition movement. The anti-ecig battle for these kids was even more difficult since society usually disregards what kids can do.

The BOLD Teens

BOLD means Breath Of Life Dorchester. It is based in the Codman Square Health Center and is funded with the tobacco settlement money. The bunch of kids who started this movement saw and disliked that their neighborhood was at the center of the zone that Big Tobacco is targeting.

They saw storefronts lade with advertisements of cigarettes that have killed many of their loved ones. Back in 1999, cunning tobacco pitches were present everywhere and the group’s first tobacco opposition target was the newspaper.

Formidable Young Leaders

Cynthia Loesch was among the pioneer leaders of BOLD who said that The Globe was just right down the street where their base is located. They worked to arrange a meeting with The Globe to discuss cigarette ads. The result was not that good. When the group has scheduled for a press conference to call The Globe out, the paper announced that it will stop accepting cigarette ads.

Loesch recalled while laughing that after that, no one could call them anything. She was only 13 years old at that time, but already formidable. She is now 18 with a few months left to finish her education at the Northeastern University law school.

As if destined to dominate the world, she actually has an activist gene in her. Her father is Rev. Dr. Bill Loesch, who joined with Martin Luther King Jr in 1965 in Selma, Alabama where he was imprisoned. He has been a civic life figure that Codman Square named a park after him.

It was actually Bill who urged his daughter and others at BOLD on to their next target, which was the pharmacies. Cynthia said that pharmacies were like ironic in their stance. They sell both products that can kill and can promote health. Plenty of resistance was already present then.

The youngsters picketed at local pharmacies. All the days of summer 2000, the teenagers stood outside the pharmacies while holding signs that said tobacco kills and selling them must be stopped. Business owner felt uncomfortable.

Bill Walczak who then ran the health center recalled how merchant gave him a backlash and asking him if he cannot stop BOLD from their movements. He and no one could not because the teens were relentless in lobbying at the Boston Public Health Commission to urge cigarette ban in pharmacies all over the city. It was a step no other city in the US has ever seen.

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Productive Years Of Hard Work

It took years before the teenagers achieved what they wanted. It was 2008 when pharmacies were finally prohibited from selling cigarettes. Yet, 79 other communities in the state followed. Ultimately, CVS has recently announced that it will also stop selling the deadly products.

Chief of CVS Larry Merlo stated that health care delivery setting is no place for tobacco products. Loesch and her fellow BOLD members were thrilled with this CVS decision.

BOLD is not just about tobacco opposition. Their goal is to fights against issues that could be placing people’s lives at risks. In fact, their next target seems to be the Codman Square Farmer’s Market where they aim to do something about the fast food joints that are said to serve foods that cause diabetes and obesity.

Together with Bill, the new BOLD generation is also preparing the offensive for Stop & Shop. A junior activist said that if CVS can stop, this establishment can also stop selling cigarettes.

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