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Walkers circle park for a world without tobacco

May 31, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

About 250 walked around the lake at Hagerstown City Park Wednesday as part of the second annual Walk in the Park World No Tobacco Day celebration.

The event was sponsored by the Tobacco Free Washington County Coalition.

The event is intended to counter efforts by the tobacco industry to get more people to start smoking, said spokeswoman Lynn Whitall. Coalition members are particularly concerned about allegations the industry is pushing children and teenagers into smoking, she said.

"Smoking kills and we want people to know that," said Whitall, who is the regional director for the American Lung Association.

The theme was "Raise Awareness - Not Funds." As people checked in at the four checkpoints around the lake they were given information about the dangers of tobacco use, she said.

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If they stopped at all four checkpoints they were given prizes, including T-shirts bearing messages, such as, "Tobacco kills. Don't be fooled."

Many of the walkers were students. All students were given flyers letting them know about the event.

Among those helping out at the event was Violet Cramer, 72, of Hagerstown, who said she smoked for more than 50 years.

She stopped smoking earlier this year, she said. It wasn't easy but she had no choice because her smoking-related health problems were so serious, she said.

Cramer said she thought the event was a great idea, she said.

"I like it," she said. "This is good."

Whitall encouraged people who want to learn more - or to stop smoking - to call Stop Smoking for Life at the Washington County Health Department at 301-791-3034

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