‘You’ll be smelling nasty…your lungs could get messed up’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 25, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Unfortunately, it’s hard for today’s children to avoid exposure to cigarettes. They can open up a magazine, turn on the television, or, as Kia Edwards experiences almost every day, just step outside to see the &uot;glamorous&uot; side of nicotine abuse.

&uot;I know a lot of people who smoke,&uot; said the 12-year-old King’s Fork Middle School student. &uot;People my age asking if I want a smoke, or if I have any money so they can go buy some.&uot;


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She knows exactly what to say. &uot;I’ve had family members who have cancer from smoking, or can’t work because of how their body is.&uot;

Kia knows how to say no. People like the creators of the ydouthink.com Web site want to make sure that more children do as well.

On Wednesday afternoon, the group sent a few representatives and a car to visit children in the SporAc (Sports and Academics) program at King’s Fork Recreation Center. Four campers at a time could sit in the car and talk about why people of all ages shouldn’t smoke.

&uot;You’ll be smelling nasty,&uot; said Trasie Artis, 12. &uot;We can be cool without smoking. Your lungs could get messed up, and you won’t live long enough to see your kids’ weddings.&uot;

&uot;It makes your teeth turn yellow and your clothes stink,&uot; said Bridgett Jones, also 12. The reasons went on and on.

After they were finished, the kids’ photos were taken to be placed on the site.

&uot;This gives kids a real opportunity to speak their mind,&uot; said site street team member Mike Malone. &uot;It’s the most effective method we’ve found in reaching youth. If they get lessons from teachers or older people, it’s usually a linear situation. In this, its channeled down; here, they talk to us, and we get to learn from them on their level.&uot;

It’s just one more positive aspect of the camp, said counselor Johnetta Saunders. &uot;Our program is about having a good impact on the community,&uot; she said. &uot;We stress healthy living, and smoking is not a part of healthy living.&uot;