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Roselawn students get DeNoble lesson in tobacco addiction
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Dr. Victor DeNoble shows students at Roselawn High the diseased brain of a lab monkey that was administered drugs for several years.

Dr. Victor DeNoble used to help promote cigarettes as a scientist for a tobacco company. Today, he spends his life educating young people on the dangers of tobacco addiction.

DeNoble presents his “Biology of Addiction” workshop to 250,000 to 350,000 students each year, and on Friday afternoon, about 40 of those students were from Roselawn High School in Turlock.

Organized by the Stanislaus County of Education through a Tobacco-Use Education Prevention grant from the California Department of Education, DeNoble made presentations at 14 schools throughout the county.

DeNoble addresses the addictive qualities of nicotine and centered his presentation on his own experience as a scientist for a tobacco company and the negative agenda of the industry prior to changes in legislation.

“There is no such thing as a safe drug,” DeNoble said.

DeNoble explained that the use of nicotine changes the brain without people knowing it, and that's why people crave cigarettes long after having quit smoking.

“It can take five to 10 years after stopping drug use for your brain to go back to normal. The process takes a long time,” DeNoble said.

Prior to the presentation, DeNoble met with students in Roselawn’s Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco (PHAST) club.

Charmaine Monte, who worked with her colleague Elizabeth Escalante to bring DeNoble to county schools, said that PHAST clubs teach students leadership skills and community service.

“We’ve got more than 800 students in PHAST clubs county wide and they are making a difference,” Monte said.

DeNoble makes educating students about nicotine a full time job and said that the most rewarding thing is making a difference in just one student’s life.

“If you get one person to not use tobacco, you’re not only helping them, you’re helping save every person they know from nicotine addiction,” he said.