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Stanislaus County slams tobacco use with training for local high schools
The Stanislaus County Office of Education hosts the fifth annual “Protection Health and Slamming Tobacco Youth Coalition: Tobacco Slam Training” to educate high school students about tobacco prevention in Modesto on Tuesday. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal
Stanislaus County is working toward maintaining a healthy community from fitness to nutrition to tobacco use prevention. On Tuesday, the Stanislaus County Office of Education continued their fight for a healthy community by hosting the fifth annual Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco Youth Coalition: Tobacco Slam Training.
SCOE has come together with the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, California Youth Advocacy Network and Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act to create this yearly training to better educate local high school students on the dangers of tobacco use.  
“We want to teach the students basic Tobacco 101 and teach them ways to communicate and present what they learn to the community,” said Charmaine Monte, SCOE’s prevention programs planning coordinator.  
The main goal of the training was to get more students active in their community, Monte said.  
More than 135 students from 12 high schools were at the training in Modesto. High schools in attendance were Ceres, Central Valley, Hughson, Billy Joe Dickens, Patterson, Roselawn, Turlock, Pitman, Oakdale, Orestimba, Davis and Waterford. Riverbank High School and five Modesto City high schools chose not to participate.  
The majority of Modesto City schools wanted to see how the program works first so they did not participate this year, Monte said. Davis was the only Modesto City school to attend the training this year.  
The Youth Coalition program started about six years ago because Monte wanted to create a better connection with the county and the districts within the county, she said. She created the tobacco use prevention program with the help of others and wanted an event to bring all the students together and that is how the combined training program began five years ago.
“It gives the students the feeling that they belong to something bigger,” Monte said. “The training is meant to gather the students to give them information so they can continue to do what they do throughout the year.”  
At the training, there were a variety of workshops where the students learned how to educate their peers on the dangers of tobacco use. The workshops included information on emerging tobacco products, delivering effective community presentations, activity planning and community activism and social media.  
New tobacco products they learned about were the Hookah, the electric cigarette and snus, the spitless tobacco. They learned about the effects of tobacco use and different ways to educate others about tobacco. The students will be helping with four campaigns throughout the year at each of their schools to promote tobacco prevention. The different campaigns are Red Ribbon Week, Great American Smoke-out, Lose the Chew and Kick Butts Day.    
After learning the basics, the students were taught effective ways to communicate what they learned through photos, e-mails, posters and presentations, Monte said.
“We want to educate students on how to get more involved in their community,” she said.       
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.