The program is a national children’s tobacco-free education program sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Dr. Gravois has been presenting the program to students in Zachary for about 14 years. He introduced the poster contest to Copper Mill students around three weeks ago after giving a one-hour anti-smoking classroom presentation with Baton Rouge General family medicine residents Dr. Stephanie Awad and Dr. Kathleen Freeman.
All Copper Mill fifth graders were encouraged to participate in the poster competition. A prize was awarded to first place winner Kolton Jacobs, second place winner Kiswayla Jacobs and third place winner Katheryn Young. CME fifth graders Akira Grant, Ben Arigo and Ben Grice were also awarded prizes for honorable mentions.
In addition, the students’ posters will be put on display at the Louisiana State Capitol Building. Jacobs’s first place poster will be entered into the Tar Wars state competition.
Dr. Gravois said the main requirement for the winning poster was that it display a positive outcome brought about by not smoking.
Tar Wars was originally deigned in the late 1980’s by the Hall of Life at the Denver Museum of Natural History and Doctors Ought to Care and has been used to teach more than a million children in 48 different states the harmful affects of tobacco use.
“National studies show that about two percent of fifth graders smoke and 19 percent of high schoolers smoke,” Dr. Gravois said about the importance of the program in elementary classrooms. “We’re trying to catch the kids before they pick up the habit. If you talk to adults, you realize that the majority of them started smoking when they were teenagers. Studies show that about 90 percent of adults started smoking before the age of 19.”
For more information about the program, go to www.tarwars.org.