Dolan Middle School is kicking butts. It's a national effort taking place today that teaches students the importance of saying no to tobacco.
"We want them to get the message that, don't start smoking, because it's really difficult to quit, so don't even think about starting," said Jill Goldberg, pediatric nurse practitioner with the school-based health center, supported by Family Centers.
"We know that most people who start smoking, over 90 percent start before they finish college," said Dr. Paul Sachs, director of pulmonary medicine at Stamford Hospital.
Dr. Paul Sachs says he made students aware of tobacco companies' advertising methods.
"Almost half a million people die every year from tobacco smoking in this country and the company needs customers," said Sachs, "And they're not going to convince me or you, but they will convince a student to smoke."
"They're actually putting all different types of flavors in the cigarettes so it doesn't really taste like cigarettes. It really tastes more like candy and the way they packaging it also," said Goldbery.
In a recent update, the campaign reports 15 percent of Connecticut high school students smoke cigarettes. With 2,500 children under 18 in state becoming smokers each year, Dr. Sachs says it's important to start early.
Kick Butts Day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, sponsored by the United Health Foundation. It's been taking place since 1996 and this year, the organization expects more than 1,000 schools will be involved.