Local event drives home message: Smoking can ruin your health

June 02, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

For one day countries, cities and communities around the world united to proclaim: "Secondhand smoke kills, let's clear the air" during Saturday's World No Tobacco Day.

In the Imperial Valley that gathering took place at Bucklin Park in El Centro.

The local event offered food, games, prizes and a message to children and parents of the hazards of smoking.

"It can ruin your health," said Jessica Moreno, 10, of El Centro.

Jessica attended the event with her friend Crystal Garduño, 9, of El Centro. Crystal's father, Art, and sister, Arissa, 3, accompanied her.

Art Garduño said, "I brought them here to show them that smoking is bad and so they can see the pictures of what smoking does."


Many booths displayed pictures of the effects of smoking.

Crystal said, "I think this is good because it'll make us remember not to smoke."

Terri Shiffer, project director at the Imperial County Tobacco Education Project, coordinated the event.

"We want to bring to light the fact that secondhand smoke kills and causes all these illnesses to children and adults," Shiffer said.

"We want to provide a smoke-free environment at home, in the car, at work and at public facilities," she added.

Shiffer said of smokers, "We hope they quit, but if they do smoke, do it away from people."

Shiffer said the event is good for kids, adding, "We want them to get the message. We want their parents to get the message not to smoke.

"I hope people would take this message and tell their family members, co-workers and friends to provide a smoke-free environment for their families," She added.

The event is in its third year. The first year the event was in Calexico, then it was held in Brawley, and now in El Centro.

Shiffer said next year's activities could be in either Calexico or Holtville.

She said she likes taking the event to Calexico because it is the only city that has a no-smoking in public parks ordinance.

"Hopefully it'll just get bigger and bigger," she said.

Eva Villero of El Centro took her children, Yvette Martinez, 8, and Anthony Martinez, 7, to Bucklin Park to show them the effects of smoking and of secondhand smoke.

"I want them to understand that's what happens when you smoke," she said.

Shiffer praised the assistance from the many organizations that helped sponsor the event.

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3435.

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