Smoke Out in Mexico
"We have one of the highest smoking rates and we have the second-lowest cigarette tax," said Llona Weiss, regional manager for Show Me Health. "And it has a devastating impact on all of us, whether we are smokers or not."
Weiss said 26 Missouri residents die each day from tobacco-related health issues, so efforts are increasing to educate younger people.
"Many years ago, they started the education process on the college level," she explained. "They moved it down to the high school level, down to the middle school now, and there's a lot of discussion of going more indepth into the elementary school."
One student, Daniel Calaluce, said, "I think it should happen once a year in every grade, just to keep you aware of what could happen."
The mayor declared May 31 as World No Tobacco Day in Mexico. The local YMCA hosted a fair and general health screening about the harmful effects of smoking as well as incentives to quit. The YMCA waived its $50 membership fee to any smoker who signed a tobacco-free pledge.
Events will continue Thursday, when the Audrain city-county health unit holds a training session for tobacco retailers on fines for selling tobacco to minors, and how to avoid problems by recognizing fake IDs.