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On March 20, we celebrated “Kick Butts Day.” Think cigarettes.
This is a national holiday celebrated across America by those who rally together in hopes of persuading their family members or friends to quit smoking. It’s also noted as a holiday to celebrate the day an individual actually succeeded when deciding to stop smoking, whether it be weeks, months or years.
Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County celebrated this holiday on Wednesday, along with thousands across the nation. But we like to celebrate “Kick Butts Day” every day at Champions. Whether we praise a family member or a friend daily for their dedication to quitting, preventing friends from starting, not falling into peer pressure or actually taking those big steps to kicking the habit- we kick butts daily.
If you’re a smoker, I hope you haven’t stopped reading. I don’t want to use this opportunity to harp about the habit or rattle off lengthy, frightening statistics. We all know that smoking is harmful and deadly; it’s an addiction and nicotine is a drug that’s hard to quit, as is any habit. Instead, I would like to inform the community on what Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County has done to diminish tobacco use and to stop it before it starts among our youth.
At many events throughout the county, we set up an informational booth with resources on tobacco and other drugs. We also have a very large replica of a cigarette that grabs youths’ attention. It displays the different ingredients within a cigarette in a way that they understand.
Instead of scientific terms, it shows images of a car muffler, a candle, a gasoline can and three moth balls, just to name a few.
The muffler says, “Would you breathe the stuff that comes out of a car’s muffler? Smokers do.” The candle says, “Candles are often made with stearic acid—good for making candles but not for people to inhale.” The gasoline can says, “Would you believe that the same stuff that’s in gasoline is in tobacco smoke? Yuck!” Finally, the moth balls say, “Moth balls contain a chemical that creates vapor to kill insects. Cigarette smoke contains this same chemical.”
These are the statements that our students see and relate to, more so than a ton of overbearing statistics and scientific terms they may not understand. It’s always interesting to the adults that notice the display, as well, because it has never been put in those terms before. When the student visits the booth, they take our “tobacco pledge” and promise to never smoke. We’ve reached hundreds of students at local football and basketball games, in lunch waves and at various events throughout the community.
We are proud of Carroll County for taking strides with Champions to diminish tobacco use and secondhand smoke. Most recently select businesses and restaurants have gone smoke free. This is a step forward that not only our community has taken, but larger ones in Kentucky and the nation as a whole have taken, as well. This helps keep smoke and tar out of our children’s lungs and reduces the risk of cancer.
So, won’t you join us in our continuous fight and effort to “Kick Butts” on a daily basis? If you do smoke and don’t feel confident in kicking the habit for good just yet, take baby steps and encourage our youth to make healthy and positive decisions. Support our smoke free environment and visit our local businesses and restaurants that have gone smoke free. If you don’t smoke, continue to praise those around you, enforce positive encouragement to quitting and reward yourself.
No matter what category you are in, help us take strides in diminishing tobacco use among our community as a whole.
Don’t forget about our monthly coalition meetings that takes place every fourth Thursday at The Carroll County Public Library starting at 11:30 a.m. They’re open to the community, and it is a great way to give back and get involved. Bring your ideas, thoughts, questions and a friend.
If you’re interested in quitting smoking or know someone who is, please call us at (502) 732-8304 or visit our office at 1706 Highland Ave., between CCHS and Cartmell. We have free resources that are available for your benefit to help you or someone you know quit today.
Hayley Franklin is coordinator of Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County.