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Great American Smokeout Online

November 16 has been designated as the date for the 24th Annual Great American Smokeout, the American Cancer Society's nationally recognized day when smokers are urged to prove to themselves that they can be smoke-free for life if they can quit tobacco for a day. A series of online activities in support of the day have been developed to encourage kids to take control of tobacco's effect on their lives. The tools for youngsters at the Web site include information that deflates popular tobacco advertising myths and provides the facts on the contents of cigarette smoke--arsenic, ammonia, carbon monoxide, tar, and nicotine. A Stuff the Puff Bulletin Board allows youngsters to sound off about ad myths, peer pressure, and smoking's social consequences. The Great American Smokeout Pledge is available online for students to sign and distribute, promising to lead a smoke-free life. Virtual postcards are also available to send to legislators to encourage increased education about the dangers of tobacco--and to send to loved ones who smoke to encourage them to kick the habit. Studies show that more than 80 percent of the 47 million adult Americans who smoke started lighting up before age 18. Seven out of 10 high school students have tried cigarettes, and more than one-third are regular smokers. According to the American Cancer Society, there are 3,000 new adolescent smokers every day. American Cancer Society, 404/320-3333 or

Social Factors and Scholastic Performance

"Student Assessment and Student Achievement in the California Public School System," a new study from the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), points to a direct relationship between social factors of race, poverty, and English-speaking ability and the scholastic performance of California students. …