Addison Peitz went to New York, but she didn’t play tourist.
Instead, she protested.
The Hartington Public high school student, along with dozens of teens from around the country, has recently demonstrated outside the meeting of the shareholders of the tobacco companies. The teens were protesting the worldwide increase of death and disease brought on by the company’s products.
While only 15 years old, Peitz already sees the harm of tobacco on her friends.
“I have no interest in smoking, but a lot of children in the use of tobacco Hartington,” she said, “They smoke cigarettes and use tobacco.”
Peitz not get used to the activity. She has been involved for two years in a local branch of the No limits, Nebraska’s first youth tobacco prevention movement.
“For one project, we put up ‘6’s’ all over school. Everybody was asking what it means,” she said. “We finally told everyone that 6 represent that one person dies every six seconds (worldwide) from tobacco use.”
In addition, local projects, she participated in “Kick Butts Day” where teens protest near Nebraska State Capitol building in Lincoln.
When she learned of the New York demonstration, Peitz has focused its activities on the very people, the provision of financial support by the tobacco industry. She applied for a place with a group headed to New York City, writing an essay on its goals if it was chosen, and the extent of its involvement in the organization has no limits.
She was chosen for the delegation of Nebraska, joining fellow teenage activists Madison Larimore Bellevue and Claudia Millan Schuyler, along with other members of No Limits.
“I was surprised that I was chosen because of my age and because I do not know how many were going,” Peitz said.
Peitz spent three days in New York: the first day of travel, taking part in the preparation of the second day and participate in a demonstration on the third day.
The aim is to raise awareness of attention tobacco company marketing in developing countries, do not say No Limits project coordinator Jesse Huenink. Worldwide, an increase in mortality and morbidity due to the promotion and sale of their products in the world’s youth.
“In the United States alone, the tobacco industry spends $ 1 million every minute of marketing their products,” said Huenink. “Madison, Claudia and Addison fought effects of tobacco in Nebraska - and we are excited that for our team to take this fight to the national and international level. He will take action and hard work to reverse the global tobacco crisis, but we ready to fight. ”
Peitz was among 52 young people gathered at the Grand Hyatt-New York Hotel to welcome the shareholders, as they entered and left the meeting.
Many of the young people carried signs emblazoned with the theme demonstration “We’ve seen enough,” and reports of a global marketing strategy of tobacco companies. Larimore Millan and continued their demonstration inside the hotel.
The meeting took place in the heart of the business center next to Grand Central Station, Peitz said.
“We were there (on the street), at 8 am, and we stayed there for five hours,” she said. “We sang and tried to talk to shareholders when they walked in (the building). They looked at us like, ‘What are these kids doing?” But it was very important that we talk to them, because investors do not always pay attention to the the fact that they are investing their money at. ”
The protesters were allowed to demonstrate, but were given the space limitations, Peitz said.
“We had a little place where we were to stay during a demonstration,” she said. “We have been appointed by the COP to watch us, that was scary.”
Young protesters also drew a wide range of reactions from passers-by on the street.
“Some people have supported us and understood what we were doing. Other people ignored us, because they did not think we were doing was important,” she said. “When people passed us by, we’d get rid of it and talk to the next person.”
Some of the protesters went inside and took part in the meeting, trying to make their point, where possible, Peitz said. She was left in the street, attracting passers-by and handing out information.
“We have noted the key facts to every person,” she said. “We have shown how, television and commercials (tobacco companies) are selected young people and make (tobacco) look interesting. They do not mention side effects in their ads.”
Peitz also sought to show the life-and-death impact of tobacco use.
“I was just giving straight facts to people,” she said. “I showed how many people die in this country from tobacco. We want to open people’s eyes about tobacco.”
In addition to training and demonstrations, Peitz said she also benefited from networking and connections with teens and leaders from across the country.
“We have worked with children from different countries,” she said. “They shared what they had done in their own countries, so we got a few ideas from them that I would like to do as a project.”
Peitz already looks forward to another demonstration.
“I want to continue to do so as long as I can,” she said. “I would love to go back (to New York). It was a great experience. We have achieved many great things.”