Teens from Gardner-South Wilmington High School, Mazon-Verona-Kinsman Middle School, and Morris Community High School attended the annual TATU (Teens Against Tobacco Use) Kickoff at the First Christian Church.
The American Lung Association “Teens Against Tobacco Use” program is teens teaching younger children to make healthy choices about tobacco use. Younger children see the tobacco-free teens and believe that smoking cigarettes or using spit tobacco is really uncool.
The TATU teens make a commitment to be completely tobacco-free. Once trained, they will go to the elementary schools to educate them about the nasty stuff found in tobacco.
Through skits and presentations, the teens will demonstrate how un-healthy it is using tobacco products and reasons why they should never start.
The one-day training prepared 47 teens to become positive role models and peer leaders both in their own schools and to the children in the younger grades. They learn many ways to demonstrate how smoking is bad for you.
In the ‘squeeze’ activity, the students stand in a large circle; a large rope is laid out on the floor behind the teens. The instructor says every time you smoke your blood vessels get smaller, so they take a step in. The rope is pulled and the circle becomes smaller, forcing the teens to squeeze closer together to demonstrate how your vessels constrict when smoking. After each activity the teens are asked questions to help them process the facts and how it relates to smoking.
This is just one of more than 15 activities that teach the teens how to deliver the 45 minute anti-smoking presentation about the negative effects of smoking through fun, hands-on activities, skits and presentations.
They are also given time to work in small groups to create presentations and skits that will be age-appropriate and used in the schools later.
Most of the TATU teens will deliver their anti-smoking presentations during Red Ribbon Week, Kick Butts Day, Great American Smokeout or at health expos/classes in their districts.
To learn more about the TATU program, contact Paula Goodwin, Coordinator for the NTTF and Operation Snowball at (815) 941-3130.