Tobacco Resistance Unit

The Harrisburg Area YMCA partners with organizations like the Police Athletic League (PAL) to provide the Tobacco Resistance Unit (TRU) program to youth in the community.

The Tobacco Resistance Unit is a movement in Pennsylvania to provide education to youth ages 12 to 18, in order to help they stay tobacco and nicotine-free. TRU uses evidence, marketing lies from big tobacco companies, and health education in order to protect youth in the community.

In addition to education, the TRU program allows youth to foster their leadership skills by presenting and educating other youth about the dangers of tobacco. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use is started and established primarily during adolescence. Nearly 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18 and 99% first tried smoking by age 26. The TRU program is focused on educating teens and helping them to pass their knowledge onto their peers.

TRU Testimonial

In 2016, Darrell has participated in the TRU, “The biggest thing I learned about at TRU was looking at the lungs,” he said, “Like, looking at the healthy one and the unhealthy one. It’s just phenomenal what a difference tobacco makes on your body. I decided to be a part of TRU because I felt like I was a part of the family. I knew I wanted to study the heath effects of tobacco. I think I have learned a lot about being a leader. TRU is the greatest thing ever!”

“I decided to be a part of TRU because I felt like I was a part of the family."

More Tobacco Cessation Programs

According to, the goals of the program include:

  • Educate young Pennsylvanians about the dangers of tobacco and nicotine addiction and expose BIG TOBACCO’S marketing lies
  • Grow TRU – Recruit your friends as TRU members through community outreach
  • Make TRU’s Mission visible and increase participation in the movement in your region
  • Host fun youth programs that ensure increased participation in the TRU movement
  • Keep TRU around for years to come and to help stop tobacco use in Pennsylvania
  • Monitor and influence public policy related to all tobacco and nicotine products
  • Help youth who smoke QUIT – promote cessation through the N-O-T Not On Tobacco (N-O-T)

Youth will meet monthly or weekly, depending on the program, throughout the year. Through this program, the YMCA hopes to develop young leaders in the Harrisburg Area who can make lasting change to the next generation. For more information on the program and how to get involved, please contact Eric Rothermel at

Current Program Offerings:

  • Police Athletic League in Harrisburg
  • Phase 4 Learning Center in Harrisburg
  • Williams Valley High School in Williamstown

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