BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Students at North Bay Elementary were all ears Tuesday morning as Miss Mississippi, Asya Branch, pushed a big message: say no to smoking.
“Once you start, it’s very hard to stop. So, it’s important we never start because we know how harmful it can be," said Branch during her presentation.
The pageant queen is a spokesperson for the American Academy of Family Physicians' Tar Wars campaign. Branch has visited several schools across the state, reminding students of the dangers of tobacco.
“It’s so important that you teach students these things young, and you know they kind of remember them throughout their lives. Hopefully, they won’t ever get caught up using any types of tobacco products or other drugs," said Branch.
It appears students were definitely paying attention.
“Tobacco can give you a bunch of cancers, and it could hurt your teeth very bad," said 3rd grader Tru Haynes.
“Now with all the vaping, and the juuls and all those things that lead to smoking eventually, we’re afraid. So, as early as we can get that message out," said North Bay principal Jeremy Weir. "It’s always better coming from somebody like her than it is with us.”
The students walked away not only with new information but an experience they’re unlikely to forget.
“It was amazing. It was the coolest day ever.” said 3rd grader Emma Russell.
“I’m so glad that I have these opportunities because, you know, it could be one child’s life that I impact or it could be thousands, but one is better than none," said Branch.
Although she is grateful, Branch still can’t believe the opportunities she receives to make a difference in other people’s lives.
"It just blows my mind to think that so many people look up to me but it just gives me the opportunity to continue doing what’s right and continue leading by example.”
Branch also offered students advice for succeeding in school.