January 2021 


ITAT Prepares For a Year of Advocacy

  Our Island Teen Advocates are ringing in the new year diving straight into a number of  advocacy projects. The first of these projects is to identify local tobacco retailers in their neighborhoods. Big Tobacco targets ethnic minority groups, including Pacific Islanders, with their sneaky marketing tactics. Our ITAT students are locating every tobacco or e-cigarette retailer within a 10 mile radius of their school, and illustrating the frequency of these retailers on large poster maps. These maps will show just how much their communities are targeted by Big Tobacco, and help students stay aware of the harmful marketing tactics Big Tobacco uses against them. They will then use these maps to share with their peers and communities the reality of how hard Big Tobacco works to hook youth on their products. 

Our ITAT students will also be writing letters to their state and local legislators, educating them on the dangers of underage use and purchase of tobacco products and sharing their own stories relating to tobacco and e-cigarette use. Each year, ITAT has a capitol day, where they go to the Utah State Capitol and speak directly to the legislators about their concerns, regarding tobacco and e-cigarette related legislation. This year, due to COVID-19, our Island teens will be writing letters instead of going to the capitol in person. We are proud of our ITAT students for adapting and staying focused on the advocacy tasks they are faced with, and always standing up for what is right!

Westlake ITAT club also had a project during January, to encourage their club members to get to know each other and to stay active during COVID-19. They had a socially distanced kickball activity where they played games and had a drawing for various prizes. 


Westlake ITAT students at their activity

    ITAT Student Spotlight: Tila Malungahu

 Our ITAT spotlight of the month is Westlake High Schools Tila Malunghahu. Tila is an honors student and made academic all region for soccer. She has a soccer scholarship to play in college! She said being in ITAT, she has "learned to stand alone in situations where tobacco products, drugs, and alcohol are available. I have learned how those things can affect my health, things I love to do, and those around me."

We are so grateful to have your special example and spirit as a part of our ITAT family, Tila! Keep up the great work.


Tobacco Facts: 

MY LIFE MY QUIT: is a new service available to teens, to assist them in quitting the highly addictive nicotine products that comprise the teen vaping epidemic. All they need to do is text "Start My Quit" 855-891-9989 to talk or text with a quit coach to cheer them on in their journey of quitting!

  • On average, the life expectancy of a smoker is 10 years less than a nonsmoker.
  • Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer.
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 smokers start before the age of 18 and almost all start smoking by age 26.
  • (Utah DOH,,

Suicide Facts :

  • For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. 
  • About 50% of people in the US know someone who has died by suicide in their lifetime
  • almost 800,000 people die worldwide each year from suicide
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15-19 year olds(,, CDC):


The Pacific Islander community in Utah has the highest rates of COVID-19. Please continue to practice safe social distancing practices and wear masks in public places!

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