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Skate night offers tobacco info, activities

February 22, 2009

Hagerstown businessman Jonathan Burrs kicked off the Skate Don't Smoke program Feb. 7 at Turner's Skate Palace on Virginia Avenue in Hagerstown.

The free, late-night skate is a program funded by the Washington County Health Department's Cigarette Restitution Fund program.

Burrs asked the county to fund the program to give young people and their families an alternative activity that would be free from exposure to second-hand smoke.

The event was opened by guest speaker Andy Smith, who also provided tobacco health education exhibits and held several tobacco education sessions that went on during the two-hour event.

More than 150 young people and their families enjoyed the event, some participating in the "Win Mr. Andy's Money" contest.

Participants were awarded cash prizes and shopping gift cards (prizes were provided by Smith and Brothers United Who Dare To Care) for correctly identifying a number of poisonous ingredients added to cigarette tobacco.

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Ce'cea Kline, Amanda Bishop-Cross, Kenisha Bishop-Cross, Jasmine Stuart and Jackie Kelley teamed up with each contributing to tally enough answers to walk away with a prize.

Cole Stotler and Bryan Hart won in two categories.

Smith provided the tobacco ingredient study sheets and other tobacco health information through an African-American Tobacco Control Initiative sponsored by the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's Center for Health Promotions.

Burrs received funding to hold 10 free skates and hopes others will contribute to keep the project going after his funding is exhausted.

The next free skate is planned Saturday, March 7, from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at Turner's Skate Palace at 17333 Virginia Ave. in Hagerstown.

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