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W.Va. Panhandle students attend tobacco prevention training

October 17, 2007

INWOOD, W.Va. - Students from 11 schools in Berkeley, Jefferson, Hampshire and Morgan counties in West Virginia traveled to Musselman High School on Oct. 8 for Regional Raze On.

Students represented Martinsburg High, Musselman High, Musselman Middle, Hedgesville High, Hedgesville Middle, Berkeley Springs High, Martinsburg South Middle, Hampshire High, Capon Bridge Middle, Jefferson High and Paw Paw High. More than 50 students and 14 adults turned out for the daylong event to train members of Raze, the statewide teen empowered tobacco prevention organization.

Students learned not only the effects of tobacco, but also how to utilize the Raze Web site and recruit new members. A special presentation was done by Tony Richards from the American Lung Association on asthma. Educating about asthma is one of the goals for Raze members this year.

"It's great to see so many teens involved in this organization. They are so passionate about their cause," said Donna Kuhn, RESA VIII regional tobacco prevention specialist.

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These new skills will be utilized throughout the school year locally. Raze crews will also participate at various statewide events such as Tobacco Free Day at the state Capitol, Through with Chew Week, Kick Butts Day and the Great American Smoke Out. These events allow teens to have their voices heard.

Tobacco use among teens is on the decline, but teens know how important it is to sustain and continue the fight. Nearly 90 percent of smokers begin at or before the age of 18 and more than five million kids under the age of 18 in the United States are regular smokers.

Since its inception in 2001, nearly 10,000 teens have joined Raze in its fight against tobacco. There are more than 140 crews throughout West Virginia.

For more information about Raze, visit www.razewv.com, or contact Regional Tobacco Prevention Specialist Donna Kuhn at djkuhn@access.k12.wv.us.

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