Students Try to "Kick Butts"

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

Sparks, NV - Sixteen-year-old Bryan Maciel can't remember exactly why he started smoking two years ago, but he knows his decision to quit six months ago was life-changing.

"I'm done coughing everything up and I feel better. I can run, play games in P.E. actually and stuff," he says. "I feel a lot better."

And he's trying to tell that to his classmates at Alpine Academy Charter High School - where a quarter of the student body smokes. That's why the school put on a "Kick Butts" assembly on Wednesday.

"We have posters up all over the walls, we've been talking to the students about this everyday," says Jill Petersen, principal of Alpine Academy Charter High School, which has been around for three years and has 100 students. "This is a great day for them to stop smoking."

"Today is visual impact day," says Heather Lunsford, with the American Lung Association. She and medical experts talked with students and showed off how smoking could lead to serious health damage down the road. As part of the demonstration, she showed how black a smoker's lung could get.

The most persuasive speaker was a man who doesn't even have a voice.

Lee Radtke, a Carson City resident, never smoked in his life. But he told the group of young people how being around smokers gave him cancer. Now, he has a hole in his throat and he has to use a portable computer to talk.

This event is one of just 1,000 Kick Butt events going on around the country. The U.S. Surgeon General has called youth smoking an epidemic.

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