MAKING AN IMPACT

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Helping Kids Make Smart Choices

Helping Kids Make Smart Choices

Thousands of Oklahoma children learn about the dangers of tobacco use with Be Smart – Don't Start program.

In May 2018, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) presented the Be Smart-Don't Start Anti-Tobacco Day at Science Museum Oklahoma Learn more about third-party links.

More than 2,000 guests received free admission to the museum, courtesy of BCBSOK. More than 1,200 students from 15 schools across the state attended the daylong event.

BCBSOK started Be Smart-Don't Start in 2004 to help teach children about the dangers of tobacco use with fun hands-on activities.

The program also provides an anti-tobacco curriculum to more than 1,000 teachers in 680 schools through the Newspapers in Education Learn more about third-party links program in The Oklahoman.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 1,800 Oklahoma children become new smokers each year. That sets them up for serious health risks throughout their lives.

"Tobacco use is a major health issue affecting the quality of life in Oklahoma," said BCBSOK President Joseph R. Cunningham, M.D. "Educating our children and families can help to improve the health and well-being of Oklahomans today and in the future."

The program's partners include: American Cancer Society Learn more about third-party links, American Lung Association Learn more about third-party links, Newspapers in Education Learn more about third-party links, Oklahoma City Energy FC Learn more about third-party links, Oklahoma State University Learn more about third-party links, Science Museum Oklahoma Learn more about third-party links and the University of Oklahoma Learn more about third-party links. BCBSOK's Mobile Assistance Center was also on hand for the event.

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

Be Smart – Don’t Start Anti-Tobacco Day 2018

(Kids chanting together): Be Smart, Don't Start!

Jenefar: Be Smart-Don't Start Anti-tobacco Day is an initiative to teach school-age children the dangers of tobacco use. We've partnered with Science Museum Oklahoma; they're generous enough to open their doors, let us use their facility, so students and parents and teachers can enjoy a free day at the Science Museum. So, children not only enjoy the fun activities that the Science Museum Oklahoma offers, but at the same time, we have partners that provide information and resources about being tobacco-free, and being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle.

Alicia: Today, we have been talking to the kids about the importance of not smoking. But then we've also been able to talk to the adults that are with them, the schools…giving them some packets of information…so the younger that we start them, the more likely that they are going to listen to us. They are going to hear it a lot throughout the rest of their years. But now that they are hearing it so young, hopefully it will start sticking in their mind, and as they get older they will realize that they don't need to smoke, it's not a good thing, so hopefully we are stopping that right here!

Rachel: It is something that our kids may not have faced yet, as 5th graders, but it's right around the corner for them. Our kiddos, they have twelve more days in elementary school and then they are going to be heading to middle school, and we know this is going to be things that they are confronted with in just a very short amount of time, if they have not already. So, to have them aware of what tobacco can do to your body, to how it affects your life, is really important for them to know that.

Isabella: It was fun to not be at school today, and to be at the museum and to kind-of play, explore and also learn things that we didn't know before; but we are learning while we are playing! I learned that smoking can really cause your lungs really bad damage inside and outside your body, it can give you lung cancer, it can really destroy the inside of your body, it can make you not really breathe that well in your throat.

Renee: It's really important, especially with a lot of the kids that are here today. A lot of them are at a higher risk of smoking than some other children would be. So, it's really great they are having fun, they are at the Science Museum, and they are learning a little about health that they might not get in the classroom.