Youth & Young Adults In Action

Engaging and empowering youth and young adults to build, participate, and live in a world free of lung disease. Get information and resources to become a life-long lung health champion.

Inspiration

Get inspired by youth groups from around the country. You may even find group in your own back yard!
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Passion

Find the hot topics and important issues you care most about for a healthier community.
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Action

Find everything from small activities to starting your own group. Only ingredient needed is you.
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Inspiration

The American Lung Association works closely with many statewide youth empowerment movements. Check out what these groups are doing in their communities for a healthier future. Share their experiences and learn more about what these change makers are doing to make a difference.

For more inspiration, visit their websites:

Passion

Find your passion. Feed your passion. Get the facts. Learn more so you can be fully prepared and engaged in your efforts. Whether it’s a school paper, research project, individual or group activity, awareness day, or day at the capitol, here’s where you can find more information about what you need to know to get started.

Clean Air

Clean Air

The American Lung Association works to ensure the air we breathe inside and out is clean and safe from harmful pollution. Check out this video that shows how air quality impacts your lungs.

Below are all the HOT TOPICS and major issues surrounding clean air:

Here are some resources and ways you can help to improve air quality for everyone.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can have a big impact on indoor air quality and lung health.

Learn how indoor air quality impacts your lungs and the latest on lung disease and research to support clean air lung health. Contact our Lung HelpLine or use these additional resources:

Vaping & Tobacco

Vaping and Tobacco

The American Lung Association protects lung health by preventing youth from starting and helping those who use tobacco products, including e-cigarettes quit tobacco use.

Ending the Youth Vaping Epidemic Model

The American Lung Association works to create a tobacco-free future for all with an objective to reduce adult and youth tobacco use to 8% and 6%, respectively, including 15% for youth e-cigarette and 7% for adult cigarette use by 2025. National strategies to meet this goal require a multi-component comprehensive public health approach to addressing the youth vaping epidemic through programmatic components inclusive of youth activism, education, policy change, prevention, intervention and cessation. Download a detailed copy of American Lung Association’s Comprehensive Approach to Ending the Youth Vaping Epidemic Model as a roadmap to help create a tobacco-free future for generations ahead. 

Below are a few hot topics and resources related to vaping and tobacco products:

Get the facts. Here’s what you need to know about vaping and e-cigarettes:

Want to know how you can take action? Here are some of the latest tobacco issues that youth groups are working on:

Do you know a young person who vapes or uses tobacco? If you want to help them quit, here are resources for youth and young adults:

  • How to help teens quit:
  • Not On Tobacco® (N-O-T) is the American Lung Association’s voluntary quit smoking program for teens in middle and high school. Over the 10-week program, participants learn to identify their reasons for smoking, healthy alternatives to tobacco use and people who will support them in their efforts to quit.
  • NOT For Me is a self-guided, online program that leverages the American Lung Association’s evidence-based N-O-T Not On Tobacco® program to help teens break nicotine dependency, no matter what tobacco products they use. To register please visit our website NotForMe.org.
  • Ask-Counsel-Treat (ACT) for Youth Cessation is a free one-hour training course that provides an overview for healthcare professionals, school personnel and community members in youth-supportive roles to conduct a brief intervention for teens who use tobacco. Based on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Youth Tobacco Cessation: Considerations for Clinicians, the course outlines the steps of Ask-Counsel-Treat and provides guidance, support and best practices for effectively delivering ACT as a brief intervention for adolescents who identify as tobacco users, including e-cigarettes.

Do you know an adult who uses tobacco? Here are resources to help them quit:

Need some additional support? Contact our Lung HelpLine or click below to learn more about the trends, issues and reports from the American Lung Association and others related to vaping and tobacco.

Lung Health

Lung Health

The American Lung Association is committed to lung health and wellness and helping people understand lung disease, causes, treatment and management.

Below are a few hot topics and resources related to lung health:

Learn more about different lung diseases and how to improve lung health:

Need some additional support? Contact our Lung HelpLine or click below to learn more about these lung health topics.

Asthma

Asthma

The American Lung Association protects the lung health for all. Asthma makes breathing difficult for many Americans. Although there is no cure for asthma, you can learn more about symptoms, triggers and how to manage asthma here.

Below are a few hot topics and resources related to asthma:

Find out what you need to know about asthma, how it is diagnosed and how to manage it.

Visit our Asthma Resource Library for videos, toolkits, worksheets, infographics and other resources related to asthma.

Asthma research helps us understand how the disease is caused, how it develops and how it is best treated.

Need some additional support? Contact our Lung HelpLine or click below to learn more about these asthma and lung health topics:

Trending Topics

Trending Topics & Data

Find more information here on cross-cutting lung health issues, data, research and more. 

We work with decision makers at the local, state and federal levels to support laws, rules and policies that improve lung health. Join our Lung Action Network, learn more about becoming an advocate, sign on for action alerts and petitions and more.

By the numbers…

Learn more about these trends, issues and reports from the American Lung Association.

Learn more about the lifesaving lung health research that the American Lung Association has invested in to support those living with or at risk for lung disease.

Looking for a special occasion to build awareness, take action or celebrate lung health? Here is a listing of lung health awareness observances by month:

January

  • 1st New Year’s Resolutions
  • Radon Action Month
  • American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control Report released

February

  • 2nd Ground Hog Day
  • 4th World Cancer Day
  • 14th Valentine’s Day (Love your lungs!)
  • 3rd Monday Presidents’ Day
  • 28th Rare Disease Day
  • Cancer Prevention Month

March

  • 17th St. Patrick’s Day
  • 24th World Tuberculosis (TB) Day
  • 31st Take Down Tobacco Day
  • Sleep Awareness Week (Daylight Savings Week)
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week

April

  • 1st April Fool’s Day
  • 22nd Earth Day
  • Public Health Week
  • Sarcoidosis Awareness Month
  • American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report released

May

  • 2nd World Asthma Day
  • 2nd Sunday Mother’s Day
  • 31st World No Tobacco Day
  • No Menthol Sunday
  • Turquoise Takeover/Lung Action Week
  • Air Quality Awareness Week
  • Asthma Awareness Month

June

  • 3rd Sunday Father’s Day

July

  • 4th Independence Day

August

  • 1st World Lung Cancer Day
  • National Immunization Awareness Month

September

  • 25th World Lung Day
  • Back to School
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis Month

October

  • 10th Indoor Air Quality
  • 31st Halloween
  • Respiratory Care Week
  • Red Ribbon Week
  • National Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Month
  • Healthy Lung Month

November

  • 11th Veterans Day
  • 12th World Pneumonia Day
  • 12th Lung Cancer Screening Day
  • World COPD Day (2nd Wednesday)
  • Great American Smoke Out (3rd Thursday)
  • Thanksgiving
  • COPD Awareness Month
  • Lung Cancer Awareness Month
  • No Vape November Month
  • National Care Givers Month
  • American Lung Association’s State of Lung Cancer Report released

December

  • National Influenza Vaccine Week

Need some additional support? Contact our Lung HelpLine. Our lung health experts will help you find the resources you need!

Action

Ready to take action? You’ve found your inspiration and passion. Now explore how to be empowered to improve lung health and engaged in activities to support healthy lungs and make a difference in your community.

Activisms

An activism is an activity that raises awareness about an important lung health issue, like tobacco prevention, clean air, or protecting lung health. Activisms focus on educating others and encouraging them to join you in creating a healthier future.

These bursts of activities help demonstrate your knowledge, increase awareness and outreach to others.

Here are few questions to keep in mind when planning an activism:

  1. Who is your target audience (your peers, neighbors and community, state or federal legislators)?
  2. What information is most important for your audience to know about the issue? Be sure to check out the Passion section above for facts and resources to help support your activism.
  3. How will you share the information with your audience? (social media, tabling at an event, PSA, letter to the editor, etc.).
  4. Get more ideas from the activism examples from our youth engagement movements listed below. They may call them by different names, and can focus on different topics, but they all engage youth, their peers and their communities in fun and interactive ways.

Examples of activisms/storms/commotions/activities:

Here are some additional resources on engaging youth:

Four youths looking at chalk drawings on sidewalk

Advocacy

What is advocacy? It’s a way of speaking up and speaking out, by sharing your passion and stories with others in order to educate and influence others to change a rule, policy or law. Spread the word to others and invite them to join you! Share your story. Contact decision makers. Post on social media. Your voice is important for lung health!

As a youth advocate, you:

  • Speak on behalf of an affected group to demand action on an issue—this goes beyond education in that it demands change of a policy, situation, or issue
  • Raise awareness by directly promoting a cause and by providing information about the threat and consequences of a problem in order to influence opinion or behavior
  • Build momentum by rallying a base of supporters around a specific cause by bringing people together from different organizations and backgrounds who share a common interest in that cause

Check out ways that some of our youth empowerment groups have been strong lung health advocates:

two young adults holding #uptheagepa sign

Share Your Voice

Fresh Perspectives. Fresh Voices. Youth from around the country are leading the way in the fight for lung health. Learn more about how you can educate your peers and communities and express why healthy lungs are so important to you.

Picking a topic that you are passionate about and that is personally relevant to you can help you produce more interesting and poignant blog posts. For some local group members writing one blog post per year is part of the requirements for their involvement.

  • Whenever possible, include personal stories and anecdotes to make the blog relatable to the audience.
  • Include references for any statistics, facts, etc. that are not common knowledge.
  • If including a personal story from a friend or family member, be sure to obtain their permission before sharing their story.
  • Blog posts should be at least 5 paragraphs in length.

Here are a few blog examples from Raze:

Getting local media coverage, including tv, radio, and newspaper, is an effective way to educate your community about important issues.

  1. Educate yourself
    Before you can talk to the media, you have to understand your advocacy issue. It’s important to educate yourself so that you are able to talk confidently to others about the topic.

  2. Practice with family and friends
    Now it’s time to share the information you’ve learned with family and friends. The more you talk about these advocacy issues, the better you will understand them and the more confident you will feel speaking about them. Ask a family member or friend to help you practice speaking to a reporter. When you are done, ask them if they have any questions or if you explained everything clearly.

  3. Find media contacts
    Start by asking around to see if anyone you know has media relationships. If they do, ask if they would introduce you.

    If you are starting from square one, establish a relationship with the media by calling the reporter first. Then, follow up with an email.

    If you do not hear back, reach out to other individuals who work at the media outlet, like an editor, sales representative or promotions director. Be persistent, stay positive and always be polite.

  4. Participate in the interview
    Have written talking points and any other necessary materials available for easy reference during the interview.

    Share personal examples will give the reporter the information needed to write a newsworthy article. Concise talking points that can be read off in one or two sentences could be used as a quote.

    Repeat the main point early and often in an interview.

    If you genuinely don’t know the answer to a question that is alright, but do not guess. It is absolutely okay to say, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I can find out and get back to you with that information.

  5. Follow up
    Ask the reporter when the story will air or be published. If a link to the story will be available, plan to share it on social media and tag the reporter/their news outlet.

    Exchange contact information with the reporter so they can reach out to you if they have additional questions or would like another interview. Send a thank you email after each media interaction and let them know you will be in contact for future stories.

Talking with a decision maker like a mayor, city council, senator or representative can feel intimidating at first. But remember, they are people too and they do want to hear from you.
Before meeting with them, it’s important to prepare for your meeting. You want to be factual and persuasive:

  • What is your position on the issue?
  • What facts and data support your opinion?
  • Why should this person listen to you?
  • What is the ask?

For a legislative visit, whether it’s over the phone or in person, here are few things you might want to keep in mind:

  • Remember: It’s more than ok to meet with staff. They will communicate the meeting to the legislator.
  • If your meeting is cancelled – try to reschedule-do not just do a “drop off.”
  • It’s ok if they only have 5 minutes – give them a brief summary and make your ASK!
  • If your meeting starts to go in another direction – pivot back to the talking points. “I could talk all day about the new coach of the Eagles, but I really need to discuss this important lung health issue with you.”
  • The non-answer – it happens. They may not give you any indication how they feel or if they support you. That’s okay.
  • Legislators that have a history of opposing public health legislation can be swayed. So never underestimate the power of education.
  • Make sure to follow-up:
  • Personal letter
  • Thank the legislator for their time
  • Remind them of the issue and its importance
  • Offer additional information and ongoing assistance

Are you or is someone you know a Youth Lung Health Champion? We want to hear from you!

Please go to the Youth Champions for Lung Health Testimonial Form to submit. This link allows us to capture stories, testimonials and successes from youth, program facilitators, community partners, schools, and others to highlight youth-related individuals and programs as told by Lung Health Champions from American Lung Association programs and activities. These stories may be used to feature program successes, for promotional use, newsletters or media responses.


youth being recorded by microphone

Building A Movement

You don’t have to go it alone! No matter the topic or goal, youth bring a fresh perspective to the lung health issues of today. Here are some tools and strategies for starting a youth coalition that is youth led and adult supported to encourage lung health!

Join forces with others to amplify your collective voices. Here are ways that other youth empowerment groups have recruited more members and formed a cohesive movement.

How can you recruit new members? See how these groups do it:

Once you’ve got them, how can you keep them involved? Here are some suggestions for keeping members engaged:

It's important to listen to and empower youth to lead - this includes helping them setting guidelines for groups and meetings, ensuring each meeting is in a safe space, offering youth ownership (allowing youth to set guidelines, plan events and activisms, and decide on topics that are important to them and their peers).

Here are some ways that our groups support adults who are building a youth empowerment movement:

group of youths eating smores and marshmallows around a campfire
Asthma Basics Workshop - National
, | Feb 21, 2024
Asthma Basics Workshop - National
, | Mar 20, 2024