(Torrington, CT) – Young artists and their families from six area elementary schools joined organizers and Mayor Elinor Carbone on June 16th for the 2014 Torrington Tar Wars poster contest awards reception. Tar Wars is an evidence-based tobacco prevention program sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, and has provided roughly 8.5 million children with the skills they need to say “no” to tobacco. Over 3,000 local students have participated in the program in the last seven years.
“We are concerned because the number of young smokers in Connecticut is on the rise. The American Lung Association has continually given CT an “F” for its efforts in tobacco prevention. The collaboration between Torrington’s community partners to keep our children tobacco free has formed an excellent model which has gained attention across the state and country.” said contest organizer Dr. Stephanie Fowler
Students were asked to draw a poster with an anti-smoking message. East school fifth grader, Matthew Embrey, son of Eileen and David Embrey, was the 2014 CT state winner. He will be attending the next National Tar Wars convention in Washington, D.C. Other local winners include Samantha Allison Martin, Erin Thurston, Carina Fiscella, Herbert Pramono, Jacqueline Torlai, Alyssa Foster, Lexi Hine, Austin Kish, Amaris Goodwin, Lydia Bird, Elizabeth Mazzarelli, Victoria Brown, Megan Bishins, Joseph Arias, Henesis Feliz Rodrigues, Keevin Chimbo and Makayla K. Schmelter.
Tar Wars is a tobacco-free education program for fourth- and fifth-grade students. The program is designed to teach kids about the short-term, image-based consequences of tobacco use, the cost associated with using tobacco products, and the advertising techniques used by the tobacco industry to market their products to youth. A follow-up poster contest is conducted at the school, state, and national level to reinforce the Tar Wars message. Local organizations that support and promote Tar Wars are Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, The City of Torrington, D.A.R.E. officers, Torrington Public Schools, Saint Peter/Saint Francis School, and the Connecticut Academy of Family Physicians.
Organizers believe the most effective way to combat nicotine addiction is to prevent our young people from ever using tobacco products. However, this is becoming more challenging as tobacco companies gear their ads towards kids and create tobacco products that look and taste like candy. With the Tar Wars poster contest, Torrington students combat these ads with their own positive tobacco-free messages. Tar Wars has shown to be effective in increasing students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward tobacco use and advertising and should be considered as one of the building blocks in your school’s comprehensive, tobacco prevention education plan.
The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is a 109-bed, general acute care hospital located in Torrington, Connecticut, that serves as a regional health care resource for 100,000 residents of Litchfield County and Northwest Connecticut. CHH offers personalized attention from an expert team of caregivers and physicians that utilize advanced technology and clinical partnerships in a convenient, safe and comfortable patient environment. One-Thousand Employees, One Job, Your Health. Visit www.charlottehungertford.org for information.