MAYPEARL — Students at Maypearl High School received a crash course in “Kicking Butts” on Wednesday when they were exposed to an information program on the detrimental effects tobacco has on the human body.

A display, manned by Nicole Miller and Natalie Buxton, representatives of the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse of North Texas, and Rachael Obedrabah of the Reach Council of Midlothian graphically illustrated the problems with tobacco.

Buxton, tobacco prevention coordinator for the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, an agency that serves 19 north Texas counties including Ellis, Dallas and Tarrant counties, noted that the “Kick Butts” campaign was conducted in schools throughout the country.

“Some schools only have displays like ours here today, with information and prizes,” she said. “In Joshua (in Johnson County) the pig lung display is taken around to all the classes where students are shown the difference between healthy lungs and lungs that have been blackened by nicotine.”

She noted that a part of the campaign at Burleson High School included announcements concerning tobacco being made over the schools intercom system throughout the day and a large board with photos of people who died from lung cancer on display for the student body to see.

The display, which was positioned in the entry of the cafeteria at Maypearl High School, contained graphic object lessons of the toll tobacco takes on the human body, including the two pigs lungs, a set of display teeth that illustrated the harmful effects of nicotine and tar on teeth and gums and a jar filled with a thick, dark-colored syrup, which was an accurate simulation of tar in the lungs.

Each student had an opportunity to spin a wheel on the table and the subject it landed on would provide a question for them to answer about the effects of tobacco. A small gift was given to each student who gave the correct answer.

The response by many of the students was almost as dramatic as the display.

“Most of the kids said something like, ‘That’s gross – you mean that’s how my lungs would look if I smoked?’ ” Buxton said. “And the message really stays with them because it’s right here in the lunch room and they get a good look at it right before they eat.”

MHS assistant principal Gail Taylor praised the program and noted that it seemed to have a marked impression on the students.

“I think anything like this that puts out information to the students in such an effective way is going to be very beneficial to them,” Taylor said.

Pamphlets and leaflets addressing all the details of the effects of tobacco were made available to the students with information such as “50 things you should know about secondhand smoke, including sobering statistics including the fact it doubles a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome, increases the risk of breast and nasal cavity cancer in adults and almost 60 percent of US children are exposed to secondhand smoke.”

Cigarette smoke, which contains more than 4,000 chemicals, has an adverse effect on mouth and teeth, throat, lungs, skin and hair, eyes and ears, muscles and joints and most of all, the heart, according to the information.

For further information about the effects of smoking, visit the website at www.kickbuttsday.org. Contact the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse by visiting the website at www.dallascouncil.org or the REACH Council of Ellis County by visiting their website at www.reachcouncil.org.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.