Chelsea, Alabaster teens leaders in fight against youth tobacco use

Students from Chelsea and Thompson high schools, along with volunteers from the Shelby County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community, helped rid parking lots in their communities of cigarette butts March 24 as part of the Kick Butts Campaign.

&8220;We chose this day to promote awareness for youth tobacco prevention,&8221; said Karamie Barksdale, coordinator for the coalition. &8220;Research shows if teens don&8217;t view it as a community norm they are less likely to start themselves.&8221;

The Kick Butts Day is a nationwide initiative that makes kids leaders in the effort to stop youth tobacco use.

Thirty students from Chelsea and Alabaster cleaned up cigarette butts in the parking lots of the Alabaster Wal-Mart and Chelsea Winn-Dixie.

&8220;The tobacco companies make smoking look cool in their ads, but that&8217;s nothing but a lie,&8221; said Taylor Cain.

&8220;There&8217;s nothing cool about bad breath, smelly clothes and tobacco-stained teeth.&8221;

The students also have conducted surveys of citizens and restaurants to determine support for a smoke-free ordinance and have made presentations to the city council as well as local civic organizations on the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure and the benefits of smoke-free policy