Vail Daily letter: Eliminating teen smoking | VailDaily.com

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Vail Daily letter: Eliminating teen smoking

Often the biggest obstacle to improving health throughout a community is not the shortage of funds or the absence of programs but rather the lack of commitment to do something about it. Today, Red Ribbon Project, in partnership with Vail Valley Medical Center and Shaw Regional Cancer Center, are committing to eliminate teen smoking here in Eagle County. According to the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 10 percent of high school students smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 days. It's important we address this risk behavior now as smoking cessation interventions are one of the most cost-effective of all clinical preventative services.

At Red Ribbon Project, our success relies on generous partnerships throughout the community. Beyond our collaboration to eliminate teen smoking, Vail Valley Medical Center is sponsoring our Vail Valley Partnership annual member dues as well as a portion of the Red Ribbon Project's Youth Skills Building program we deliver to local high schools. This program is an evidence-based substance abuse prevention program proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse and violence. Rather than merely teaching information about the dangers of smoking and drug abuse, this program promotes healthy alternatives to risky behavior by teaching resistive skills, developing greater self-confidence, enabling students to effectively cope with anxiety, increasing knowledge of consequences, and enhancing cognitive and behavioral competency to reduce and prevent health risk behaviors.

We are proud that our efforts are making a difference locally. The surgeon general recently named the foundation of our Youth Skills Building program one of the most effective school-based programs for adolescents aged 10 to 18. Thank you to Vail Valley Medical Center for continually committing to our community to help us ensure that everyone here in Eagle County has the opportunity to live a healthy life.

Denise Kipp

Executive director, Red Ribbon Project