Prevention is priceless

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 30, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &045; As students of Demopolis High School arrived at campus and began their rides home in the afternoon they were greeted with the sight of several of their peers holding signs to rally support against tobacco use and its dangers.

Members of the group Training Leaders for Christ (TLC) held up signs with slogans like: &8220;Care if I smoke? Mind if I die?&8221; &8220;Puff, puff, die&8221; and &8220;1,200 people die a day of tobacco related illnesses.&8221; The demonstration, held in conjunction with national Kick Butt’s Day, elicited honks and waves from students supporting the cause, while a choice few teens decided to light cigarettes as they drove past as a show of disdain for the efforts of their classmates.

As part of the demonstration the students of TLC also set up a booth themed &8220;They put what in cigarettes.&8221; The booth showcased everyday household items in an attempt to help the groups peers at the school identify with the hazardous chemicals a person is brought into contact with through smoking cigarettes and using other smokeless tobacco products. The table featured items like rat poisoning, which contains arsenic, nail polish remover, which contains acetone and nicotine, which is utilized in insecticides.

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This is the first demonstration organized by one of the newest groups on the high school campus, but Tolliver said the group will work on a variety of programs and community service projects throughout the year to help them develop leadership, team building and media skills.

Tolliver said the group had gotten in touch with Niko Phillips in the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch of the Alabama Bureau of Public Health to educate members on the dangers and she presented the group with the idea for the event. Phillips helped organize the event and provided materials such as pictures of smoker’s lungs and mouth cancer from smokeless tobacco.