students at meeting with Mr. Miller

On Monday, February 13, the RCS High School S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Club attended the public comment portion of the Albany County Legislature Meeting to speak out and garner support to help fight the growing vaping issue amongst teens. 

“This problematic behavior becoming normalized is even more problematic itself,” said Carl-Hanee Coquillon. “This goes to show that the measures in place are not working to their potential, so, meaning some adjustments need to be made.”

Seniors Maximillian May and Jenna Grogran and Juniors Chizoba Uba, Alivia Ortiz, and Carl-Hanee Coquillon all spoke passionately about the issue, sharing their own personal perspectives and experiences. Some of the students focused on legislation that could change or more strongly enforce the consequences of breaking already existing laws, while others called for the support of the local Health Departments and community in addressing this growing issue. 

“We know that vaping is a relatively new problem that has arisen among teens and young adults, but what I want to bring you back to is your childhood. When, if you can remember, the epidemic of cigarette smoking, but nowadays we don’t see as many young adults or even people in the older generations smoking cigarettes,” said Chizoba Uba. “Now you may ask why is that and, well, the answer is simple. The government, along with the FDA and other health organizations, saw the risk involved with cigarette smoking and worked to eliminate it. So now that we see the risks involved with vaping, I ask, why haven’t we worked to end this epidemic as we have with cigarette smoking?”

The club had worked together over the last few weeks to fine-tune their speeches and gather facts about the laws around vaping and its harmful effects. The students called for further review of the current laws and regulations to see where new ones might assist, as well as stricter enforcement of the laws that do already exist. They called on local and county government agencies to work together to put a stop to this problem. 

“I am very proud of my students,” said S.A.D.D. Club Advisor and High School Science Teacher Matt Miller. “The students brought this issue to me a few weeks ago, and we began brainstorming ways to make an impact. They really led the charge on this. I hope to see them continue to be advocates for their future and the future of their generation. ” 

Great job to these students for taking the initiative to stand up for what they believe in and imparting change in our community and beyond!