NEWPORT -- North Country Union High School students and teachers participated in a tobacco prevention activity in the Town Square of the school on March 26. The activity was part of a statewide campaign sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health. The Gut Feelings Campaign message is "If you've tried smoking, quit while you're ahead."

The same message has been repeated on television and in movie theaters for several weeks. The familiar television spot characters -- the Stomach, Lungs and Brain -- remind students that tobacco use can affect all of their organs.

North Country Union High School social worker Stephanie Currier and students Kira Moore and Mara Spates assisted Tobacco Prevention coordinator, Nancy Rae (from North Country Hospital and Health Works O.N.E. Coalition) in designing the activities and posters for the event. The Vermont Department of Health provided a life-sized cut out of the familiar Gut's campaign characters.

Students and teachers enjoyed having their photograph taken while standing behind their favorite character. Kira and Mara worked hard to encourage classmates to participate in a free raffle. To enter the raffle each student had to come up with a "reason to remain tobacco-free." Each student wrote their reason on a colored index card. All the cards were combined to create a colorful display which will be placed on the bulletin board outside of the Health Office.

Gift cards were awarded to three lucky students at the end of the day. A display provided information on the various risks of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Information on the Vermont Quit Network and the many cessation programs available to Vermont residents was included.

For more information on the risks of tobacco use or the tobacco cessation programs available through the Vermont Quit Network, contact Nancy Rae at (802) 334-3290 in the Community Health Office of North Country Hospital.

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