Mayor Magee signs proclamation to encourage support for vaping awareness

April 4, 2023

On Friday, March 31st Miss Jones County Teen Averi Cockrell visited with Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee to discuss her platform to raise awareness about the dangers of vaping and Mayor Magee signed a proclamation to establish March 31st as Schools Against Vaping Day for the City of Laurel.

Miss Cockrell is a student at West Jones who will be representing Jones County in the Miss Mississippi Teen pageant on April 23rd in Vicksburg. The pageant, previously known as Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen, is one of many pageants that are a part of the Miss America Organization. The winner of the state competition at the end of this month will represent the state of Mississippi at Miss America Teen.

While Cockrell is excited to represent Jones County and have the potential to represent the state at a national competition; she is genuinely passionate about convincing her peers to think twice about vaping. She is the first person in the Miss Mississippi Teen organization to support this platform.

“I noticed that a lot of my fellow students vape, not knowing it was dangerous,” she explained. As she saw her classmates join the trend, she started researching the dangers of vaping and found that many users draw dangerous chemicals and microscopic pieces of metal into their lungs while using vape devices.

She contacted Michael Marks who is the Executive Director of Schools Against Vaping. He asked her to participate in their organization and she was happy to volunteer. Cockrell currently serves as the Mississippi Chair of LifeSav’ers Schools Against Vaping National Student Built Advisory Council.

In addition to competing in pageants and participating in the Schools Against Vaping program, Cockrell also enjoys singing and participating in productions at the Laurel Little Theatre.

For more information about Schools Against Vaping, please visit:

The proclamation signed by Mayor Magee read as follows:

Whereas, Miss Averi Cockrell has been named Miss Jones County’s Teen 2023 and wishes to promote her platform of the dangers of vaping through her participation in Schools Against Vaping – LifeSAV’ers; and

Whereas, Miss Cockrell is serving as the Mississippi Chair of the LifeSAV’ers’ National Built Student Advisory Council aimed at providing vaping research and education to America’s schools in addition to educating the public about the dangers of vaping; and

Whereas, through her work with LifeSAV’ers, Miss Cockrell was able to get her Jones County School District signed up with Schools Against Vaping, to officially join the fight for student body health and lead the charge in brining awareness to the vaping epidemic; and

Whereas, Miss Cockrell’s goal over the next year is to work with school districts across Mississippi to develop, implement, and enforce tobacco-free school policy prevention programs and to form a student-led advisory council that will work together to lead the charge to ensure students are aware of the physical and long-term effects vaping has on their bodies; and

Whereas, Miss Cockrell seeks to gain support not only from the school districts throughout Mississippi but also from the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi Department of Health, and the Governor’s Office

Now, therefore, I, Johnny Magee, Mayor of the City of Laurel, do hereby declare Friday, March 31, 2023 as Schools Against Vaping Day and encourage all citizens to join me in supporting Miss Cockrell’s mission to increase awareness of the dangers of vaping and to encourage healthy life choices to ensure a better future for and improve the lives of children in our community.

In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Laurel, Mississippi, to be affixed this 31st day of March, A.D. 2023.

The City of Laurel, established as a lumber town in 1882, is conveniently situated approximately two hours from larger destination cities such as Jackson, Biloxi, New Orleans, and Mobile. In recent years, the city has become a destination all its own thanks, in part, to its starring role in HGTV’s popular “Hometown” series. As Laurel, and interest in it, continues to grow, we are committed to providing the resources necessary to help all of our residents and businesses reach their full potential.
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