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Tasha Turner challenges the tobacco industry through awareness poem

What’s the story behind your “What Menthol Cigarettes Took From Me” poem?

I wrote it while entering a contest about tobacco, and what it has taken from me. I didn’t realize how painful it was until I read the poem back to myself. I just wanted to write about all my feelings, and just started writing it out. And that’s how I came up with the poem.

Why should people raise awareness for issues that are important?

I speak to a lot of kids and make sure that they know that [they] need to speak up about the things that bother them. It’s not good to hold your feelings in. You have to voice your opinion about everything that has happened to you so that you can own it and walk in it and grow from it.

What is the most important message that you want people to take from your poem?  

Realizing that smoking is an addiction. People don’t realize how much being a nicotine menthol smoker is an addiction. They think it is just like something someone can just put down and move on with their life. Once you become addicted to smoking, it’s over, and it’s just as addictive as drugs and alcohol.

What else can we expect from you in the future?

I host an open mic and I speak at schools about different topics [like tobacco]. I’m also writing a book.

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