RGV Teens Collect 2,300+ Cigarette Butts From McAllen’s Westside Park

That’s how many cigarette butts Valley teens took out of McAllen’s Westside Park, one of the many parks where young children spend afternoons and weekends playing.

The Texas School Safety Center and Texas State University program, SayWhat! (Students, Adults and Youth Working Hard against Tobacco) chose McAllen for the fourth straight year to be the site of their annual Youth Action Summit.

On Saturday morning, February 17th, streams of student and youth groups from across the Rio Grande Valley streamed into the Cambria Hotel in McAllen for a day of leadership and advocacy training to give them the resources and training that they need to actively promote tobacco prevention in their school and community.

SayWhat! is a state-wide youth tobacco prevention initiative and the summit was one of six regional events that the organization planned all across the state of Texas. The event hosted a morning training for more than 170 local students to experience interactive activities and discussions that include leadership development, team building, and commitment to a larger cause.

After the morning training, a Community Action Event was held across the street at Westside Park that culminated in more than 2,300 discarded cigarette butts being collected—and alarming number now that McAllen’s smoke-free ordinance includes all city parks.

The TPCC’s goals are to prevent tobacco use among young people, promote compliance and support adequate enforcement of federal, state and local tobacco laws, increase cessation among young people and adults, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, reduce tobacco use among populations with the highest burden of tobacco-related health disparities, develop and maintain statewide capacity for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control.

If you would like to learn more about the Coalition and its activities, please contact Yolanda Guzman at 956-787-0004, ext. 19 or email Follow/Like the TPCC on Facebook ( and Twitter/Instagram (@unidad_tpcc) for the most current news on Coalition events and activities, as well as local, state, national, and worldwide trends on tobacco enforcement and surveillance.

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