There's a different kind of peer pressure going on in the Carson City School District.
Carson High School students visiting fourth-grade elementary school classes are sharing the hard facts with students: That the 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette can cause emphysema, lung cancer, artherosclerosis, heart attacks and stroke. artherosclerosis defined in bkout fact box
The hope is that hearing the message from older students will cause fourth-graders to consider the information they've been giving before giving smoking a try.
"Peer teaching goes such a long way," said Misty Harris, coordinator for Carson High School's anti-smoking program Resist. "Kids listen to other kids much better than their teachers."
Fourth-graders at Seeliger Elementary School learned it all Monday: That the additives in cigarettes include chemicals found in nail-polish remover, Lysol cleaner, candle wax, moth balls, rubbing alcohol, butane, and ant- and mice-termination products; that 53,300 people die from second-hand smoke each year; 185,000 die from alcohol-related illnesses each year and 425,000 people die from smoking-related illnesses; and that one-third of the students in their own classrooms would take up smoking later in life.
"I'm never never never going to smoke," said Seeliger fourth-grader Freddie Ramirez, 9. "I've learned that smoking can kill you."
Students practiced ways to say no when offered a cigarette, drew pictures of their "anti-tobaccos" or time-occupying alternatives like biking, basketball and soccer, and saw pictures of adults with progressive cancers on their tongues, mouths and neck.
"We want to reach the students before they give in to tobacco," Harris said. "It's like giving them a booster shot in hopes of catching them before they start smoking."
About 35 Carson High School students are involved in the program. Resist, which focuses on anti-smoking education, targets fourth-grade students because they are at an age when they can still listen, particularly to older peers.
"If you have these (high school) kids coming in and saying 'You don't have to smoke,' then they have positive role models to listen to," said fourth-grade teacher Lisa Lemburg.
Some of the Resist students, like ninth-grader Lisa Santillanez, joined the group because they hope to change behavior patterns within their own families.
"My mom and my whole family smoke and I wanted to do something that is not related," she said. "I wanted to do something that is different from them."
Likewise, fourth-grade students showed concern for the smokers in their lives.
"Is my mom going to die?" one girl asked. Another boy said his dad gets second-hand smoke from his stepmother.
"Our bodies are amazing," said Harris encouragingly. "Our body can heal itself. But, for a lot of you who do know someone who smokes, you can encourage them to stop."
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• In Nevada, the makers of Marlboro and Camel cigarettes spend $24 million each year on cigarette advertising.
• Three thousand children start smoking every day.
• Smoking is considered a gateway drug to alcohol and other drug use.
• One cigar is equal to 10 cigarettes and chewing tobacco has more tobacco than cigarettes.
• Cigarettes can give you bad breath, make your clothes smell, and turn your teeth yellow or brown.
• A person smoking one pack of cigarettes a day could give up the habit and purchase 200 Barbie dolls that year instead.
Artherosclerosis is the hardening in the arteries caused by plaque. Unlike the plaque on teeth, this plaque is a buildup of cholesterol, calcium and fatty substances, which can cause ruptured arteries and subsequent blood clots. Clots can result in heart attacks, stroke, even gangrene.
Source: Provided by Resist to Seeliger fourth graders