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Chittenango School District 
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The Great American Smoke Out was November 17th, and students from Chittenango Middle School educated their school on the reasons why so many people take up smoking.

"The tobacco industry is trying their hardest to attract new customers," said Mrs. Leamer, Health Teacher and Reality Check advisor. "Unfortunately, they are advertising their deadly product in stores where kids shop. Young people should be able to walk into a store without being bombarded by marketing for a product they are too young to purchase."

Reality Check works to reduce youth exposure to tobacco marketing in stores and on screen.  The students involved in this program aim for a healthier community.

"I wanted to be a part of this program because I want to encourage people to stop smoking or never begin in the first place," said Riley Ellis, eighth-grader at Chittenango Middle School.

Students agree that tobacco marketing is prolific in stores where they shop and in movies they watch.  They are fighting to put an end to this.  Students set up a table inside the lunch room, catching their peers as they head to lunch to talk to them about the meaning of the Great American Smoke Out.  Students signed letters encouraging local elected officials to protect young people from tobacco marketing and secondhand smoke.

There is still a lot of work to be done.  According to the most recent Morbidity and Mortality Report, found at, 15 percent of adults are still smoking.  We know that 90 percent of current smokers begin before their 18th birthday, and these young activists are fighting to make sure kids never pick up this deadly habit.

For more information about Reality Check, visit to find your local chapter.
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