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Kicking "Butts" at Dolan Middle School

School Based Health Center & Bennett Cancer Center team up

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Stamford, CT | Added on March 18, 2015 At 02:00 PM

Every day, over 6,000 children/adolescents try their first cigarette. On National Kick Butts Day, the School Based Health Center at Dolan Middle School wants to make sure one message sticks with students:

"It is much easier to never start smoking than it is to start and quit," said Dr. Paul Sachs, Director of Pulmonary Medicine at Stamford Hospital.  

Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day has been teaching kids the importance of saying no to big tobacco since 1996.

"Studies find that most people who start smoking start in middle school and early age. You don't find adults just picking up cigarettes," said Melissa Ronk, RN, Thoracic Nurse Navigator at the Bennett Cancer Center.

"When you are speaking to kids at this age and making them aware of all the bad things associated with smoking; the chronic ilness and the dieseases, and having them understand it at this age, it empowers you to make that decision," said John Watkins from the American Cancer Society.

During a presentation Wednesday morning, Dr. Paul Sachs discussed the how tobacco companies are targeting young audiences.

"It's you. All of the advertisements that are out there are really directed at trying to get you to try a cigarette," said Dr. Sachs during his presentation to Dolan Middle School 8th graders.

Madeline Chaffee, Health Educator for Family Centers' School Based Health Centers said, "They are targeting more of the middle aged youth. The students who are kind of on the fence of whether or not they want to try it or they don't want to try it."

And with 1.2 million new young smokers every year, Dr. Sachs says it's important to get the message out early.

"I'm also talking a lot about the e-cigarettes because we have had episodes where middle school students have had e-cigarettes confiscated. We know that the incidents of e-cigarette use in middle school and high school is doubling every year. That is a real problem because they are feeling that these cigarettes are safer and that is not the case."

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids expects over 1,000 organization around the country to take part in Kick Butts Day this year. 

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