All students should #039;Stand#039; against tobacco

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 23, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

If you do not believe tobacco is a major problem among our youth, perhaps you have not been paying much attention.

The numbers are astounding: More than 20,000 Ohioans die from tobacco use each year; more than 18 percent of middle school students in the state have used tobacco products in the last 30 days; 41 percent of high school students have used tobacco products during the same time frame.

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While many teens are giving into peer pressure and using tobacco, other Ohio students are taking a "Stand."

An anti-tobacco marketing campaign by the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation, Stand, has been met with rave reviews. Through a series of matter-of-fact commercials, Stand is showing teens the real dangers in tobacco use.

Two Lawrence County students, Brent Kidd of Fairland High School and Courtney Sharp of St. Joseph High School, will travel to Columbus this weekend to attend the Stand Winter Summit. They will represent the Lawrence County Stand Team, comprised of 17 students from throughout the county. The program is part of the Appalachian Family and Children First Council Tobacco Prevention Initiative, funded by a grant from the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation.

It is refreshing to know some of our teens are willing to take a stand against tobacco use, but we wish many more would do the same. Unfortunately, many students likely feel it is not a cool thing to do.

However, if they could just avoid giving in to the peer pressure they would be much less likely to use tobacco

products in adulthood. Studies show the vast majority of tobacco users started while they were in their teens.

While using tobacco as a teen may be considered cool, the consequences are grave. Thousands upon thousands of people across the nation are lying on their death bed, wishing they had never started using tobacco. And, trust us, cancer and the other diseases caused by tobacco use are far from cool.

We urge all Lawrence County teens to really be cool and take a stand against tobacco. You will be glad you did.