FARMINGTON — A group of seniors at Mt. Blue High School observed national Kick Butts Day on Wednesday by reviewing a video they created to try to prevent students from smoking cigarettes and encourage smokers to quit.

The students are part of Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, a statewide nonprofit that works within public schools to help students reach their fullest potential.

Their goal is to educate students about the harmful effects of tobacco use.

Some Mt. Blue seniors interviewed staff and students on why they don’t smoke or why they quit. Other seniors researched where people can buy tobacco products in Farmington. They made a map of the town and highlighted areas that included tobacco products sold near fast food restaurants and other places children would frequent.

They also looked at ads for tobacco products and how they have changed over the years.

Jobs for Maine’s Graduates specialist Cal Dorman said when he was growing up, there were candy cigarettes that looked like real ones to market tobacco products to younger people. They are still available in some places.

“I thought the research they did was interesting,” he said.

“You guys did a great job,” said Nicole Ditata, director of Healthy Maine Partnerships for the Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County.

People in the video cited health concerns, wrinkles and smell among the reasons they don’t smoke. One staff member said she used to smoke but quit.

Ditata said it takes about seven to eight tries before a person quits. She also said statistics show that the number of teenagers smoking has dropped in the past two years.

Student Star Thibodeau said the group created the video because they wanted to show that a person can stop smoking and why they shouldn’t start.

Students are brainstorming ways to improve the video before it is shown publicly. They also want to increase its length from 3½ to 5 minutes and include more interviews.

Student Shane Brown said he thinks what they are doing will help keep teens from purchasing tobacco products and having the urge to start smoking and hopefully stop people who are smoking.

The video will make people more aware of what it does to you, he said.

Dorman said the teens are working on how they will present the video to students and staff. Among the options is emailing the link to the video when it is done. A video monitoring system at the school would allow students to view the video but there is no sound, he said.

The video will be promoted on the Health Community Coalition’s Facebook page and on the school’s website, among other places, once it is finished and approved.

Kick Butts Day is sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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