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Teens Reach Out To Peers To Fight Tobacco

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 20 Oct 2011 02:43pm | comments
17-year old Malika Shettar.

Anti-smoking advocates are traveling the state educating teens about the risks of smoking. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that anti-smoking advocates are looking for new ways to reach teens.

An anti-smoking step group from Vicksburg performs before for about 400 teens at an Anti-smoking conference in Jackson.

All this week, there have been anti-smoking conferences around Mississippi teaching teens about avoiding tobacco.

Event leader 17-year old Malika Shettar of Jackson says anti-smoking efforts are evolving to reach more teens.

"Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to actually get the information out there. And I guess other strategies are less of preaching and knowing more about the information and being there for your peers," Shettar said.

Mississippi teen smoking rates are actually below the national average and have been falling for years.

But 15-year Carston Bariscow of Brandon says there is still pressure to smoke.

"I am pretty that half my grade smokes. I don't know, I think it is more peer pressure. They see their friends doing it and they think they have to do it too," Bariscow said.

Half his grade is a lot, but state department of health statistics show that more than half of all teens report at least trying tobacco by the time the graduate.



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