Every year over 443,000 Americans die from using tobacco or from tobacco-related illnesses, and 28,600 of that number are from Florida. That equates to approximately 1,200 tobacco deaths per day nationally or the number of pairs of shoes Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) placed on a Panama City Beach on Saturday. The shoe memorial also carried messages from family members who lost a loved one due to tobacco use.
The 60 SWAT members, from 18 counties, were on a mission to let Big Tobacco know that the health of the people using their products, including children, should come before profits. According to SWAT members, the average age of a child who starts using tobacco in Bay County, Florida is 11 years old.
By creating dramatic displays such as this, SWAT members hope to educate the public about the affects of tobacco not only for their own health, but for the health of those around them.
View the story and the video here.