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Local 8th Graders Win Mini iPad for Great American Smokeout Essay

Posted on: November 24th, 2015

Valdosta, GA- Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. Each year smoking accounts for 443,000 premature deaths and 49,000 nonsmokers die as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.  Half of all Americans who continue to smoke will die from smoking-related diseases.  As part of the community health needs assessment, tobacco use was identified as a major health risk indicator in Berrien, Lanier and Lowndes Counties. SGMC partnered with the South Health District to present the 2015 Great American Smokeout essay contest to local 8th grade students. The essay contest served as another opportunity to help combat the issue and raise awareness.“The goal of the contest was to engage and educate students on the health dangers of tobacco use,” said Courtney Orr, SGMC Community Health Promotions Coordinator.  Students were encouraged to write an essay on one of three topics related to the health consequences of smoking.  What are the negatives health consequences associated with smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes? How would you encourage a friend or family member to quit smoking? How does social media and television impact your decision to use tobacco products? The winning students were Dalton Rumph, Lowndes County Schools, Lowndes Middle School; Detrevious Murphy, Valdosta City Schools, J L Newbern Middle School; Dylan Smith, Berrien County Schools, Berrien Middle School; and Kaylec Goode, Lanier County Schools and Lanier Middle School. The Language Arts teacher of the student winners also received a gift card of $150.00 to the Learning Tree. The winning teachers were Ditranna Walker, Lowndes Middle School; Kathryn Bailey, Lanier Middle School; Larkie Murray, Berrien Middle School and Tiffany Lampkin, J.L. Newbern Middle School. Dalton Rumph one of the winners was shocked and surprised he won.  “I didn’t expect this coming.  As Mrs. Walker and I were walking up to the front office to get my surprise, I thought it was a setup for me to get a flu shot,” says Rumph.  According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 9 of 10 adult smokers had their first smoke by age 18. The younger a person is when they start using tobacco, the more likely they are to use it as an adult. The Great American Smokeout is held every November, on the third Thursday to encourage smokers to go the distance, and to finally give up smoking.  This awareness day is national and put on by the American Cancer Society.        Lowndes Middle School                 J.L Newbern Middle School      Berrien County Middle School      Lanier County Middle School