CAA Students Encourage Children to Stay Tobacco-free
Columbia Adventist Academy’s National Honor Society juniors and seniors divided into four teams and headed to Adventist and other Christian elementary schools in February to encourage kids to avoid using tobacco. This Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) program is sponsored by the American Lung Association and uses peer teaching to help prevent kids from using tobacco.
At the schools, each team used different illustrations to represent the negative effects of tobacco use. “I took straws and passed them out to the kids. We jumped up and down for a minute while breathing through the straws. I told them that this shows how hard it is for people with emphysema to breathe. And often it is because they smoked,” explained Caitlin McNabb. Other activities included drawing anti-tobacco advertisements and viewing molasses as an example of the tar cigarettes leave in the body.
The TATU members also explained why they didn’t use tobacco and asked the kids for their reasons. Their powerful responses surprised the teens. “Because my younger siblings look up to me, and I want to be a good example for them," said one little boy.
To end the presentations, the teams quizzed the kids to see what they remembered. When the children answered correctly, CAA students rewarded them with anti-tobacco prizes such as rulers, posters, stickers, mouse pads and pens.
“It felt good to know that I had somehow touched their lives by making them aware of the harmfulness of tobacco," Melissa Morauske confided. "And it is satisfying to know we helped the kids know what to do when they are presented with tobacco."
It was a great opportunity for the teens to share the truth about tobacco with children and possibly help them make positive future choices.