The Sidekicks program has a goal of working with young people and adult advisors in Maine to help teens find the words to talk to their peers about tobacco use and vaping.
Once trained as a Sidekick, youth have the skills to hold respectful conversations with their peers about tobacco use, as well as other risky behaviors. The Sidekicks program gives youth the skills and confidence to support their peers, as well as a network of Adult Advisors and Adult Ambassadors as a resource for questions and additional support.
Why address youth tobacco use?
- Youth are sensitive to more nicotine than adults.
- 3 out of 4 teen smokers will smoke as adults.
- Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which causes addiction, may harm brain development, and could lead to continued tobacco product use among youth.
- Youth are vulnerable to social and environmental influences to use tobacco; messages and images that make tobacco use appealing to them are everywhere. School policies and interventions that encourage tobacco-free environments and lifestyles and reduce tobacco advertising, promotions, and availability of tobacco products are proven to reduce youth tobacco use.
The Sidekicks program is administered by the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence (CTI), funded by the Tobacco and Substance Use Prevention and Control Program, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), and the Department of Health and Human Services. CTI contracts with District Tobacco Prevention Partners (DTPP) in each of Maine’s Public Health Districts for local-level implementation of tobacco prevention objectives, including Sidekicks.