Students Learn About the Dangerous Effects of Tobacco 

A study by the Maine Integrated Youth Foundation shows kids typically begin smoking at the age of 11.It’s a statistic Tyler Cespedes and Zachariah Borque know all too well.They weren’t even teenagers when they started smoking.The addiction to cigarettes soon took over their lives.”I ditched my friends, they wanted to go hang out and ride bikes and I was like I’ll be right back and I’d go hide in the woods and light a couple of cigarettes,” Zachariah said.The two high school seniors are currently trying to put cigarettes behind them, Zachariah hasn’t had one in a week while Tyler has cut back.”It’s just a lot better to be able to get your lungs back and be able to run around with your friends and have a good time,” Tyler said.They spoke to the sixth graders at mount view middle school as part of “Tobacco Free – Passport to Health.” Tyler and Zachariah hope their personal experiences inspire others to say no.”They shouldn’t have to go through a road I already went down. If I can tell them and then they don’t live that life and experience a good life, I think that’s a good thing,” Tyler said.Students participated in different activities to learn about the dangerous effects of tobacco.In one presentation, they drew pictures illustrating what they learned.”I drew up a stop sign that said stop smoking with kids in your car because it’s dangerous,” said student Halle Reynolds.While others took part in a relay to see how smoking impacts your physical health.Mark Bennett showed students how tobacco ads target the next generation of lifelong customers.”A lot of stuff that they see how it’s portrayed to them they need to know the facts of what the dangers are,” he said.Dangerous effects that have persuaded Krissy Allen not to light up.When we asked her if she’d smoke, she said no.This was the first year the school hosted the event. The school’s health coordinator says she hopes it will become an annual event.