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Around Saratoga

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Kicking butts in Mechanicville

Teens are raising awareness in Mechanicville today about tobacco advertising and the dangers of smoking.

The youth-led Reality Check of Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties is setting up tables at Mechanicville Middle School as part of national Kick Butts Day.

"Smoking is still a big problem," Reality Check youth advocate Shawna Mason, 17, said in a statement. "Kids think smoking is OK since the stores we go to all the time are filled with tobacco products and ads, but we want to change that."

The youths tell their peers that tobacco companies are seeking "replacement smokers" from their ranks because 1,200 Americans die every day from smoking-related illnesses.

About 107,000 New York high school students smoke, according to Reality Check, and 22,000 children under 18 become daily smokers each year.

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