ST. GEORGE: Youth in St. George, Washington County are taking a stand against smoking at city bus stops.
On Wednesday afternoon they spent hanging up 77 ‘no smoking’ signs at SunTran system bus stops. A city ordinance already exists barring smoking contained by 25 feet of a bus stop, but students said they recurrently witnessed people violating the law, and thought of something needed to be done.
Wednesday’s process was the second part of the Washington County Youth Coalition’s project that lay up 33 signs a few months ago at precedence stops – those near schools and parks as well as the engaged stops in the system.
“Second hand smoke kills 53,000 Americans a year, and we’re concerned about that,” said Paola Guerra, WCYC High School Executive. “Our goal is to make our community a better place, and I knew that this project would help our community and all of our kids; and the people who take the bus and who don’t want to be around second-hand smoke.”
WCYC that was formed about four years ago as the youth branch of the Washington County Prevention Coalition has always been involved in great prevention work related to substance abuse.
“We’ve noticed people smoking before,” Said WCYC Dixie High School representative Scott Tew. “Especially, like near elementary schools where the smoke drifts into where people are all the time.
The high school and middle school kids want to make their community a better place, said WCYC advisor and licensed drug prevention specialist Logan Reid.
“I have a lot of friends that use drugs, and I see the bad effects of substances,” said Sariah Tofoya, 17, WCYC High School Executive. “I see how it has altered people’s lives and I want to prevent that in future generations.”
The students took on the campaign all on their own. They approached the city council, working on the design, and raising the close to $1,500 needed to pay for them.
The students approached for hanging the signs and were told they could hang 33 of them. After some positive feedback, the council agreed to let them hang signs on the remaining 77 stops.
“We had data from the Health Department and Police Department that showed that a lot of people were complaining about smoke at the bus stops, and we wanted to change that,” said Scott Tew, 17, Washington County Youth Coalition President. “This project seemed like a good way to let people know about the law and tell them about quitting options at the same time.”
He said it will make a big transformation in the customers who have sensitivity to cigarette smoke. Davies said police will begin implementing the regulation from Thursday.
“I think it’s been a great example of ways youth can make a difference in the community,” Reid said.
“Second hand smoke is a really bad deal,” Tew said. “So we wanted to set those up.”