Renee & Rhea Mendonca: Trailblazers in global anti-vaping campaign

It all started when Renee and Rhea's grandfather was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis in India. He was a chain smoker from the age of 14. The Mendonca twins were 10 when their grandfather died.

From that day onwards they made a strong decision to help youth addicted to smoking. Five years later, Wings of Hope was born. Through their youth-led organization, the New York teens aim to educate and help youth addicted to vaping.

Till date, Wings of Hope has helped over 100,000 youth addicted to vaping globally from countries such as India, Pakistan, Malawi, Nigeria, Mexico, Columbia, France and Italy.

When Renee and Rhea, now seniors at Susan E. Wagner High School in New York, conducted a survey, they found 85 percent of students from ages 12-17 years were hooked on to flavored E-Cigarettes, and that 97 percent of students use flavored e-cigarettes as the 1st tobacco product. They were spending sleepless nights as they watched theirpeers who were minors vape during school.

The Mendonca twins have given talks in schools and youth conferences, composed song and positively impacted the youth. They have played a major key role in spreading awareness through social media campaigns to the youth about the bad effects of vaping all around the globe. And for this effort, the 17-year-olds were recognized last month by Youth Service America as ‘Everyday Young Heroes’.

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