LECOM Bradenton Medical Students Teach Anti-Tobacco Message
Elementary and middle school students hear about the dangers of tobacco use

LECOM Bradenton osteopathic medical students helped Manatee County fifth- and sixth-graders “ATTAC” the problem of tobacco use.

LECOM Bradenton medical student Tiffany Trenda answers questions during a tobacco cessation program at Imagine Charter School in Bradenton, Fla.

The medical students gave a day of community service presenting the Area Health Education Center’s Tobacco Training And Cessation (ATTAC) program.

In 2007-08, the ATTAC program presented the dangers of smoking to more than 5,000 elementary and middle school students in Manatee and Sarasota counties, said Emily Hite, ATTAC training coordinator for Gulf Coast South AHEC.

“LECOM students have been instrumental in the success of the program,” she said. “As future doctors and pharmacists, they bring a different perspective to the presentations. Coming in, they know the consequences and health risks associated with tobacco. They connect really well with the students.”

Fifth-graders at Imagine Charter School in Bradenton cringed while watching videos of the harmful effects of tobacco use.

“1,200 people die from tobacco use every day,” explained LECOM’s Matthew Jackson. “It’s the number one cause of death.”

Students also learned about the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco, which is more addictive than cigarettes, and how tobacco companies use advertising to attract young people to their product.

Fifth-grader Tyler Handley said he learned something from the program.

“I didn’t know that dip (smokeless tobacco) was more dangerous than cigarettes,” he said.

During the 2007-08 Florida Legislative sessions, the Florida AHEC Network was awarded funding to educate health profession students and health-care professionals on the dangers of tobacco and to develop cessation programs.

The ATTAC program was developed and implemented in collaboration with community and academic partners such as LECOM Bradenton.

LECOM students made presentations to four elementary and two middle schools in Manatee County on Jan. 29-30.

January 30, 2009
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