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Don't be a butthead

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 05/05) - As part of Addictions Awareness week, Alfred Moses brought a message on healthy living to Inuvik students.

Moses, who has been an anti-tobacco educator for the past five years, said his reason for visiting schools is simple.

"A lot of young people don't know the dangers of tobacco," said Moses.

"You have to reach them while they're young."

Moses is known for his presentations all over the Territories, and his technique of using visual aids to bring the message homes.

Moses entered the classroom with his backpack full of supplies, and box of goodies aptly named "the poison box."

Immediately, hands shot into the air, and the question was asked:

"What's in the box?"

Moses pulled out a pack of cigarettes, and after explaining that there are numerous chemicals found in cigarettes, started to pull other items from the black-coloured legal box.

An old exhaust pipe from a car was presented to signify carbon monoxide.

A jar of formaldehyde was presented to the children, and Moses asked the room why they thought tobacco companies would put such a substance in their product.

"Because they want people to die?" squeaked a timid girl from the back of the room.

Moses pulled out another bottle, this one resembling paint thinner.

"Would any of you drink this?" asked Moses.

The room was filled with a loud "no way!"

"Then why do smokers put this in their bodies?" replied Moses, with another question for the children to ponder.

Moses' big guns came out when he told the class he wanted them to see the effects of smoking on lungs.

Moses pulled out a large set of pig lungs and pumped them with air until they were almost doubled in size.

Once the students had seen the healthy pink lungs, it was time for the truth, according to Moses.

A shrivelled pair of lungs were pulled from a plastic box. Totally black, and only a fraction of the size of healthy lungs, Moses said they had been exposed to tar, and other chemicals commonly found in tobacco.

Moses pumped air into the lungs, but only one side inflated.

"Why is that?" asked one eager student.

Moses explained that with continuous smoking, cancer can form.

"Don't even have one puff. That's all it could take to become addicted," Moses cautioned.

"Relay this message to the people that you love," said Moses.