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Elementary Students in Jackson are Learning to Kick Butts—-Cigarette Butts that is…

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 19 Mar 2014 07:03pm | comments

Sixty eight thousand Mississippi children could die prematurely from smoking related diseases if urgent action to reduce smoking is not taken.  That's according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.  MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports on efforts to help Mississippi kids "Kick Butts."

At Smith Elementary School in Jackson guidance counselor, Dr. Cenovia Burnes is having an engaging conversation about cigarette smoking with a hall full of students. 

The lesson was part of yesterday's19th annual Kick Butts Day where students across Mississippi were encouraged by their peers and teachers to stay tobacco-free.  Dr. Burnes explains why she's so passionate about the subject.

"Health wise it can be bad for their brains, their lungs so therefore we're learning. They need their brains and a healthy brain to be successful students. They want to be able to breathe without the effects of the possibilities of cancer, the  things that it can do even death. And we want our children to be around for a long time. So this is one other thing that we can help keep our children to be a better part of America."

In addition to educating kids on the dangers of cigarette smoking, Jacqueline Carter with the Mississippi Tobacco  Free Coalition of Hinds County says it's also important to teach them the dangers of second hand smoke.

"We have gone to several daycare's and some of the workers have told us that you know, on their backpacks and their little  tote bags that they bring in everyday that there is smoke on their backpacks. And we wanna make sure that everybody knows that you can have a heart attack, or you can have a stroke, there is bladder cancer. There's all kind of things that you can happen to your body being exposed to the secondhand smoke as well."

In Mississippi alone, tobacco use claims nearly five thousand lives and costs $1.23 billion in health care bills each year. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.

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