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Falls students work to prevent tobacco use

Oct. 22, 2012

Menomonee Falls - Joe Molle, an 11th-grader at Menomonee Falls High School, saw his grandfather die of cancer due to smoking.

Molle's peer Ben Davis is sick of tobacco companies targeting teenagers with misleading marketing.

Twelfth-grader Adam Wolfram hates the smell of cigarette smoke.

Their reasons for joining the youth-led movement FACT may be different, but their purpose is the same - to take action and prevent tobacco use.

A meeting was held Monday to kick off the second year of the statewide program FACT at Menomonee Falls High School. More than a dozen students turned up to plan their "factivism" for the school year.

"Factivism" means taking action by exposing the secrets of tobacco companies and teaching teenagers how those companies market tobacco products. They call this "fighting with fact."

For example, companies target teens with flavored tobacco to hide the deadly and addictive ingredients, said FACT Adviser and Special Education Teacher Nancy Laserstein.

"FACT is something that's very exciting. You're making a difference in a bunch of people's lives and you're telling people smoking is horrible for you," Molle said.

This is Molle's second year in FACT. Last year, he said the group embarked on a slew of factivism, including speaking at the middle school and decorating the school with wrapping paper that donned FACT logos.

The first project the group is doing this year is fitting for the Halloween season. Next week, the students will give out candy to their peers that read "manipulicious: fight big tobacco."

"Last year we weren't too popular, but we're trying to up our game," Molle said.

Another activity involves filling up large orange garbage bags with a label on them reading "big tobacco treats teens like trash," and placing them around the school.

Laserstein is also hoping some FACT members will once again brave their peers and speak during health classes.

Students have to upload every factivism they complete to fightwithfact.com/our_fight.php.

Wolfram, who serves as FACT manager, regularly updates Menomonee Falls High School's fusion page on the school's website that also details the group's latest activities.

For information on FACT, email Laserstein at lasenan@sdmfschools.org.

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