According to the latest Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey, the percentage of high school students who smoke dropped by more than 55 percent. Smoking among middle school students is down by more than 70 percent.
The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth is behind an anti-smoking movement. In our area, a grant from that foundation funds a respiratory therapists' work. He goes into seventh grade classrooms and talks about the dangers of smoking.
Erica Rollins, the health education and awareness coordinator with the Strong Families, Great Youth Coalition said those lessons are a major reason for the decline of smoking in our area.
"We know 90 percent of those who smoke as adults started at or below the age of 18, so it's so important to catch it early," said Rollins.
Rollins said that more awareness about the health dangers of smoking is also needed in schools. Right now, the coalition is working toward implementing a smoke-free policy at the fair.
If you or someone you know is trying to quit smoking, there is a hotline for teens and adults. That number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
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