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North Shore-LIJ Nurses Hold Anti-Smoking Carnival with Amityville Elementary School to Mark National “Kick Butts Day”

March 24, 2011

Nurses and staff from North Shore-LIJs Center for Tobacco Control, New York State Miss Liberty Kimberly Cantoni , and Amityville High School students.

AMITYVILLE, NY– On Wednesday, March 23, thousands of students in every state and around the world spoke up and took action in the fight against smoking during national Kick Butts Day , including about 220 sixth graders from the Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School in Amityville.

With the help of smoking cessation experts from North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Center for Tobacco Control (CTC) , students transformed their gym into an anti-smoking carnival, complete with information booths, educational games, a poster contest, science displays (including black pig’s lungs exposed to tobacco compared to the animal’s pink healthy lungs), prizes and giveaways. In addition to the other activities, the reigning New York State Miss Liberty, Kimberly Cantoni, attended the event, promoting her platform, Tobacco Education Awareness for Children’s Health, or TEACH . While the event had a definite carnival atmosphere, the messages to students and teachers were hard-hitting. Boys and girls are vulnerable to smoking through advertising; and second-hand smoke poses a significant health risk to children. Kick Butts Day, now in its 16th year, promotes anti-smoking education for adolescents. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in the United States, approximately 3,450 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 years smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 850 adolescents become daily cigarette smokers. Many of these young smokers will become part of the 400,000 people who die from tobacco use each year.

“We hope that during the event children will discover for themselves that the best way to stop smoking is to never start in the first place,” said Patricia Folan, RN , director of the Center for Tobacco Control.

“Between 90 and 95 percent of all adult smokers started when they were about 12 years old,” said Dan Jacobsen, a nurse practitioner and smoking cessation expert at the CTC and one of the event’s organizers. “Our goal is to reach kids when they’re at the age vulnerable to smoking and peer pressure. These students are between 11 and 12 years old, which is the perfect time to emphasize prevention.”

“With the tobacco industry spending over $12.5 billion a year on advertising and marketing to attract new smokers, community-based, anti-smoking and cessation programs are vitally important” added Ms. Folan.

To contact the Center for Tobacco Control, call: 516-466-1980.

Contact: Betty Olt


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