Local Businesses Launch Youth Pledge Campaign to Reject Nicotine-Use

BRUNSWICK, MECKLENBURG, & HALIFAX, VIRGINIA –Southside Behavioral Health is partnering with local businesses across the counties of Halifax, Mecklenburg, and Brunswick, Virginia to create a youth pledge campaign offering discounts to youth who take a pledge to be nicotine-free.

“Despite a decrease in traditional cigarette use, nicotine-use, and addiction still exists in our communities,” said Prevention Manager Kenan Tyner-Smith.

In a local youth survey conducted by Southside Behavioral Health during the Fall of 2021, over 25% of youth responded that they tried nicotine products for the first time at the age of 16 and 65% of youth responded that they had tried e-cigarettes at least once. According to the survey, youth identified JUUL, SMOK, and Vuse as their brands of choice with candy, dessert, and other sweet flavors identified as popular options. Additionally, almost 50% reported seeing individuals using e-cigarettes in or around school bathrooms.

Over 40% of survey respondents reported that they would like to quit using nicotine products within the next six months. To help them get started, Southside Behavioral Health and other local businesses across the region are partnering to offer youth who take the nicotine-free pledge discounts on services and products throughout the months of May and June.

“By reinforcing positive health behaviors, we hope to improve health outcomes in our local communities,” said Tyner-Smith.

With the majority reporting a desire to quit, it is clear that youth want to take back control. Through this pledge campaign, Southside Behavioral Health is inviting both youth and organizations to get involved in the local health of our communities.

Young people can get involved by taking the pledge and learning the facts about nicotine products. To take the pledge and for the complete list of participating organizations, visit www.southsidebh.org/smokefree-southside/.

About Southside Behavioral Health
Established in 1972, Southside Behavioral Health provides behavioral health, developmental disability, substance use, and prevention services to the residents of Southside Virginia in Halifax, Mecklenburg, and Brunswick Counties. Southside Behavioral Health is committed to providing individualized culturally competent care in our communities, by supporting wellness and quality of life in a recovery-oriented environment and professional manner. Learn more at: southsidebh.org.