'Tar Wars' waged at Bethlehem Central High School
Albany Medical College students talk about the dangers of tobacco use
Students at Bethlehem Central High School were witness to some gruesome sights last Friday: The ravages of tobacco use on the human body.
Albany Medical College student and BCHS graduate Steve Hannigan, standing, teaches students about the perils of tobacco use on Friday, Nov. 18, in the High School cafeteria.
Three Albany Medical College students brought “Tar Wars,” an anti-tobacco initiative, to the high school in order to educate students about the perils of tobacco use.
“We thought this would be a good program because the Albany Medical College students aren’t that much older than the high school students, so they’d easily identify with them,” said High School Dean Marna Meltzer, who coordinated the visit.
Meltzer thought it wouldn’t hurt, either, if one of those Albany Med students was BCHS alumnus Steve Hannigan, now a second-year med student at Albany.
“It’s great that he’s a part of this,” said Meltzer. “He’s walked these halls; he knows this school – he knows what it’s like to be in these kids’ shoes.”
Hannigan said he was proud to come back to BCHS for such a great cause.
“It’s nice to come back and it’s an honor to be invited back,” he said. “Particularly for such a good cause. If we can nip smoking in the bud, these kids will have a better future.”
Hannigan and his Albany Med classmates Tom Cocciola and C.J. Pierce set up shop in the High School cafeteria, complete with models of cancerous mouths, deteriorating lungs and jars of the tar one would accumulate if they smoked cigarettes for one year.
The exhibit's unpleasantness is by design – the med students know sometimes you have to shock teenagers into listening to a message.
“These are teenagers, you’re not going to just tell them what to do,” said Cocciola. “You have to show them the disgusting things tobacco can do to your body and educate them as best as you can.”
That approach seemed to work for junior Brianna Lee.
“I think this is a good idea,” she said. “Stuff like this deters people from smoking. It’s gross.”
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