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April 28, 2021
The annual Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action on April 1st may have had a different feel this year, but enthusiasm and participation across the state of Mississippi was at an all-time high. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids bills it as a “national day of action” where people of all ages and walks of life stand up to Big Tobacco through local organized events and campaigns. CATCH My Breath, supported by the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Office of Tobacco Control, organized a statewide virtual field trip that combined teacher-led activities with an educational video streamed online, allowing schools to participate whether classes were in-person or remote.

Mississippi stood up to Big Tobacco in a big way, with more than 180 schools in the state participating in the virtual event. The 18,000+ students who tuned in gained powerful insights through the virtual field trip which showed several teenagers sharing their firsthand experiences of successfully avoiding e-cigarettes. Students were shown how to think critically about everyday influences that like advertising and social media, taught about effective refusal skills, and even debunked common myths with a health professional.

The “Clearing the Air” virtual field trip, which is part of the Be Vape Free initiative, is a great way for schools to introduce vaping prevention at their campus ahead of implementing, or in conjunction with, the CATCH My Breath program. The initiative launched a second virtual trip at the end of April called “Just the Facts” which takes students into the body to learn about the effects of e-cigarette vapor and nicotine on the body and mind.