Students left the classrooms Wednesday and marched in Schuylkill County to remind people to stop smoking.
Government statistics show one out of five people use tobacco products in Pennsylvania.
Teens from seven school districts gathered in Pottsville to discourage residents from using tobacco for the annual Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Schuylkill County Tobacco Free Youth Coalition.
“These kids do a real good job. Every year they show people why they’re passionate about the topic about tobacco use and how they want to create a tobacco-free future,” said Angela Morgan of the Tobacco Free Coalition.
The teens carried signs and shoes. The shoes symbolize people who have died from tobacco-related disease. Some of the young people know the emotional pain of losing someone.
“I lost a family member that I should show everybody else that smoking is bad and they shouldn’t do it,” said Joshua Cromyak of Cumbola.
“She took care of me and I was always at her house a lot so it was hard for me to accept the fact that she died of cancer,” said Carley Lionettle of Mechanicsville.
The shoes went to good use. They were dropped off at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.
Some said getting young people involved is the way to go.
“We have ordinances against youth tobacco possession, we have ordinances to keep tobacco out of our playgrounds and stuff. I think it works because I think we have a lot less kids smoking than I was a kid,” said Pottsville Police Captain Steve Durkin.
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