Youth Push For Tobacco Free Capitol

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advisory Board spearheaded an effort to make the state capitol smoke-free Thursday morning.

The board, which is made of high school and college students, said their mission is to motivate "youth advocates from across the state to join the movement and inspire a tobacco-free generation."

Smoke-free advocates from around the state gathered at the capitol to present House Majority Leader John Diehl with more than 3,000 signatures from more than 200 communities supporting a motion to make the capitol building smoke-free.

Joyce Lara, Youth Coordinator for Tobacco Free Missouri, said the board presented the signatures to Diehl because, "Diel's office is the one that can help make that decision so that's why we targeted him."

More than 100 youth from 12 different schools talked to their elected officials about why they want the capitol to be smoke-free.

When asked about the effort to eliminate smoking from the capitol, Lara said, "the state capitol isn't one-hundred percent smoke-free and that really upset them because those are their role models and elected officials."

"If we all keep talking, everyone else will start listening, and once we have everyone's attention, we can make impactful change happen," said Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advisory Board President Daniel Giuffra.

The original U.S. Surgeon General's report on second hand smoke came out 50 years ago.