Wars scores big
Every year a St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics health care provider visits the fifth grade classes at Prairie Middle School to present the TAR WARS anti-tobacco program. The curriculum was developed by the National Academy of Family Physicians and Idaho’s program is offered through the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians.
Each year the students create a poster to discourage other young people from trying tobacco. The winning poster from each school is mailed to the Boise IAFP office for the statewide contest. The 12 best posters are featured in an annual TAR WARS calendar. Sarah Seubert’s poster was selected for the 2010 calendar. Her picture is the featured picture for the month of May. She received a TAR WARS T-shirt for being the school winner. The Idaho state winner was from Idaho Falls. Her poster eventually went on to win the national contest and she and her family received a free trip to Disney World. Sarah’s mom, Kathy, is a nurse at SMHC.
The presenter this year was Dr. Matthew Nelson, a resident from the Boise Family Practice program. He captivated this year’s students with discussions about the long and short term effects of tobacco use, what it is like to have emphysema and how tobacco companies try to ‘trick’ kids into using tobacco. “I hope none of you kids start using tobacco because even though you don’t think you’ll get addicted you will,” said Dr. Nelson, who is completing a residency rotation at SMHC. “Your friends will try and get you to try tobacco and you must figure out how to say ‘no.’ Peer pressure can be very strong, you’ve got to be stronger.”
Statistics show that if a person has not started tobacco use by age 19, he or she is very unlikely to begin smoking or chewing. Jessica Vanderwall was the host teacher this year.