Porter County teens involved in the local VOICE youth empowerment group are planning a public display to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and vaping in honor of the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 17 at Boone Grove High School.

Students, faculty, staff, and the general public will be able to view shoes placed outside of the school to represent the number of people who die, on average, every day from preventable tobacco-related illnesses.

The Great American Smokeout event is on the third Thursday in November every year. It is the perfect day to quit smoking. Quitting isn’t easy, it takes time, and a plan. No one has to quit smoking in one day.

The American Cancer Society started the Great American Smokeout over 40 years ago, and it has helped countless people begin to improve their lives, according to the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County.

“On November 17th, we encourage everyone, youth and parents alike, to put down the cigarettes and vapes. Get outside, take a yoga class, talk to your friends, and do something fun! Make this day the start of something new. We are here for you if you need help or resources!” said Emily Carpenter, MPA, Youth Facilitation Specialist and Outreach Facilitator for the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County (TEPC).

“In Porter County, 328 residents die every year from smoking-related diseases. Our local youth hope to show their peers and the general public how important tobacco-free living is to prevent future disease and death due to tobacco and nicotine products,” Carrie Higgins, Program Director of TEPC, stated.

For more information on the Great American Smokeout, visit https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html.

Information on VOICE Porter County is available on Facebook at VOICEportercounty or valpo.edu/tepc.