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With a message of “Smoking Kills,” students at Bayless Junior High in south St. Louis were recognized by the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine for their creative anti-smoking messages.

Students at the school were asked to design artwork and write an essay encouraging young people to be smoke-free as part of an annual art and essay contest for November’s “Great American Smokeout.” Seventh grader Cathy Vo and eighth grader Sabina Dizdar were first place winners of the Siteman-sponsored art contest “Keep Kids Tobacco Free.” The winning artwork was printed on t-shirts given to the school’s student body.

Eighth grader Donna Dinh was recognized at an assembly for her essay on “Why You Shouldn’t Smoke.” The essay was about her father who smokes and her plea for him to quit. “Hopefully this essay would help you to stay away from smoking or put an end to it,” she wrote.

St. Louis Rams linebacker Chris Chamberlain attended the assembly and signed autographs. He spoke about a former teammate at the University of Tulsa, who was among the most talented players he’d seen, but did not make the NFL due to his smoking habit. “It shows how destructive smoking can be,” said Chamberlain.

Sporting the winning t-shirt design, “Bayless Bronchos Don’t Need to 2 Smoke: We’re Already on Fire!” select students from Bayless Junior High attended the “Siteman Smokeout for Life” on Thursday, November 20 at Siteman Cancer Center.

Students received lunch and a tour of Siteman. The day included a health fair and an anti-tobacco presentation from Don Young of Young Choices, Inc., a local non-profit organization that advocates about the dangers of smoking. D’Marco Farr, former St. Louis Rams defensive tackle, met with students. Mr. Farr signed autographs and encouraged students to stay smoke-free.

“It’s exciting to know area children are knowledgeable about the dangers of cigarette smoking and interested in helping others ‘kick the habit,’” says Timothy Eberlein, MD, Siteman Cancer Center director.


* Source: STL Connection newsletter, Volume IV Issue I 2009, Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities.

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