Clark County’s youth smoking rate is higher than both the state and national averages, prompting a group of Springfield High School students to work to stop teens from smoking.
The Stand Up Against Tobacco group was formed at the school this year by Sarah Pol, a health educator with the Clark County Combined Health District. It aims to educate students about the negative effects of smoking.
Clark County’s youth smoking rate is 12.6 percent, well above the state rate of 9.3 percent and the national rate of 7.5 percent.
“Right now tobacco industries spend $9.1 billion dollars advertising and a lot of that does target youth,” Pol said. “So we’re doing what little we can to counter their marketing.”
The latest effort of the group is a video created to show what smoking does to a person overtime.
“I definitely think we can make a difference,” said Rachael Matthews, a group member and senior at Springfield High School.
The video will be shown to younger students, Pol said, and as an advertisement before online videos.
“We want to discourage, we want to fight against what they’re doing,” she said.
Matthews been against smoking since she saw a photo of the lung damage it can cause in the third grade.
“It was so gross and so horrible and I was like I don’t want my lungs to be like that I don’t want to be sick like that,” she said.
The group has also participated in other projects aimed to prevent smoking. Students picked up cigarette butts around the student parking lot, Matthews said, finding more than 500.
“We need to stop this and we need to show people that this can’t go on,” Matthews said.
The students are also working to make the high school a smoke-free campus.
“I love this group,” she said. “It’s one of the best things that happened to me.”
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