8th Graders Participate in Great American Smokeout

Approximately 400 hundred eighth graders at Washburn Rural Middle School participated in the latest drive by the American Cancer Society to steer the teens away from tobacco.

Students were divided in three groups Thursday morning for presentations in the school cafeteria. The demonstrations were part of the ACS's 32nd annual Great American Smokeout®.

The Society calls smoking the "most preventable cause of death in our society." Half of all smokers will die prematurely from smoking-related disease, they claim, with lung cancer being the leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the U.S.

Nearly a fifth of Kansans smoke, according to ACS statistics, and 30% use tobacco in some form.

Jennifer Taylor, American Cancer society health initiatives community manager, cites statistics that claim around one-quarter of teenagers in the U.S. smoke and nearly nine in ten smokers started before they were eighteen.