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Camelot students learn about Asthma and Dangers of smoking

“Smoking hurts your lungs. Cigarettes are bad. I will never smoke.” Fourth and fifth grade students at Camelot Elementary School gave that oath during an anti-smoking demonstration on May 28. The event was spearheaded by the North East ISD Asthma Awareness Education Program (AAEP). Representatives from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio caught the attention of the students with a hands-on asthma education and tobacco use prevention program. The program was co-coordinated by Jay I. Peters, M.D., chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Students learned about what causes asthma, its triggers and how it feels to suffer from an asthma attack during an activity where they walked in place and attempted to breathe through straws. Gasps filled the classroom when students learned that nearly half a million people die from tobacco per year in the U.S. When asked what they would do if someone asked them if they wanted to smoke, one student said, “I would run!” and another said, “I would just say no.”

The asthma education and tobacco use prevention program was created by the American College of CHEST Physicians and its philanthropic arm, The CHEST Foundation. This powerful program was created because 90 percent of people start smoking before age 20, and 60 percent start before the age of 13.

Students look at model of mouth after tobacco use.Ruben Restrepo, M.D., professor in the Department of Respiratory Care at the Health Science Center, displays a model of a mouth affected by long-term tobacco use.

Students walk in step.Students walk in step with a straw in their mouth while holding their noses closed to simulate how it feels to breathe during an asthma attack.

Presenter speaks with studentsPresenter, Richard Wettstein, RRT, speaks to the students about the 4,000 chemicals used to produce one cigarette.

Posted on May 28, 2013