Students spread anti-smoking message

By William Thompson: Quay County Sun

Tucumcari high school student Erica Sandoval was awarded third place in the state health departments “Youth Kicking Tobaccos Butts Youth Advocate of the Year award.”
Sandoval, president of the Tucumcari High School chapter of Distributive Education Clubs of America, said she has organized events to spread the anti-smoking message.

”We’ve been doing a lot of prevention stuff, “Sandoval said. “We’ve been getting middle school and high school students to pledge to not start smoking or pledge to quit smoking if they’ve already started.”

Sandoval, who was nominated by her teacher for the award, received $75 and was presented a plaque in recognition of her efforts. Since she did not attend the award banquet on Wednesday, Sandoval was given her plaque with a tennis shoe crushing an empty pack of cigarettes Monday as she and other students met to discuss their plans for Kick Butts Day today.

Sandoval and other students will read to Tucumcari Elementary School students. They also planned to speak to Tucumcari residents on KTNM radio this morning.
Some Tucumcari High School students are wearing t-shirts that say “Too Smart To Smoke.”

Tucumcari High School teacher Robert Pacheco and his DECA students are involved this week in a national campaign for today’s “Kick Butts Day”, a day devoted to
youths across the nation who are fighting tobacco use.

“It’s a national day to remind people that we continue to educate people about the dangers of smoking,” Pacheco said. “Our cause is prevention, because if you don’t start smoking then you don’t have to give it up.”

Susan Lease, director of the Quay County Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program, said the students’ efforts are instrumental in furthering the goals of the Tobacco, Use, Prevention and Control (TUPAC) aspect of her program.