Local children awarded for promoting tobacco-free lifestyle

QUEENSBURY - Culminating a government-sponsored "Tar Wars" program that is intended to inform children of the hazards of tobacco use, about a dozen children from Northern Warren County were applauded by county government leaders June 19 as the children received awards for their winning entries in a poster contest.

Their colorful, ingenuous posters - urging people not to use tobacco - were displayed for the county Board of Supervisors and the board's capacity audience, and the 4th and 5th grade youngsters were congratulated individually by the board members.

The contest, and an earlier series of anti-tobacco sessions held in most all 4th and 5th grade classrooms through the county this year, were conducted by the county Health Services Department.

These sessions include a Jeopardy-style game show, with the youngsters competing against each other for prizes, while reinforcing information about the hazards of smoking and other tobacco use, county Health Department educator Dan Durkee said.

Such information includes facts that smoking causes more than $160 billion in lost productivity annually in the U.S., and costs the nation's taxpayers and citizens $90 billion yearly in health care expenses.

Among the students awarded by the Board of Supervisors were Bolton Central students Colby Gibbs, a 4th grader, and Andi Pfau, 5th grade; from Johnsburg Central, 4th grader Kurtis Warrington and Paige Guy, 5th grade; from Lake George Central, fifth grader Eduard Kutkovskii and Olivia King, fourth grade; North Warren Central students 5th grader Hannah Erikson and Emily Gould, 4th grade; and Warrensburg Central students Melenie Warner, 5th grade, and Ryan Honey, 4th grade.

These students' entries were submitted into a statewide contest sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, which provides anti-tobacco curriculum the county distributes to eight local school districts.

Weeks earlier, four poster submissions had been accepted from each school, and the entries were posted at the county Municipal Center so county employees could view them and vote for their favorites.

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