The Kids Beat

Butt Out

Health: Kids against smoking

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Adults aren't the only ones who want to keep kids from smoking. At a Great American Smokeout press conference in November, Chantel Nolan, a sophomore at Enosburg Falls High School, stood in front of a crowd of students, teachers and health department officials at South Burlington's Doubletree Hotel and declared that she and her peers were "taking a stand" against Big Tobacco. Nolan is a member of Our Voicesxposed, a youth-led education and activism effort funded by the Vermont Department of Health. She and 17 other OVX teens were wearing identical white masks — on cue, the group fell to the ground, pretending to be dead. The kids were standing in for the 800 Vermonters who die every year from smoking-related illnesses. In addition to staging the mock die-in for the press, OVX members organize campaigns such as last year's postcard drive targeting Hannaford over its kids'-eye-view placement of tobacco ads. They also spread the word at their schools about the perils of smoking. That's the right kind of peer pressure.

Our Voicesxposed: Find out how to join one of Vermont's 16 OVX groups at ovx.org.

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