Armed with a variety of activities the high school students demonstrate to Page Elementary fourth graders the effects of smoking on lungs. Using straws of different sizes students race to drink up a glass of water - realizing it's much harder with the tiny straw. It's a representation of the diminishing capacity of the lungs over time.
The fourth graders also see a set of pig lungs. Using a pump, a high school student inflates the lungs demonstrating how the diseased lung from smoking doesn't inflate as it should. TATU members tell and show the elementary students about the many dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes. It's an exercise high school students take to heart and hope they've stopped at least some students from every starting to smoke.
According to statistics from the American Lung Association tobacco use begins at an early age with almost 90 percent of all smokers beginning before the age of 18. It is also estimated that every day more than 4,000 young people try their first cigarette and every day more than 2,000 other children become regular daily smokers.
Thornapple Kellogg's TATU group has been sharing these lessons with Page Elementary students for several years through the Barry County Substance Abuse Task Force.