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"Be Smart-Don't Start" Celebrates 13th Successful Year

May. 10, 2016

Oklahoma City, OK — On Tuesday, May 3, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) sponsored "Be Smart-Don't Start Anti-Tobacco Day" at Science Museum Oklahoma (SMO) . More than 2,200 students and guests received free admission to SMO, courtesy of BCBSOK. Approximately 1,500 students representing 17 schools from across the state were present for field trips.

Participating schools included:

Central Intermediate — Wagoner
Central High — Wagoner
Edgemere Elementary — Oklahoma City
Edwards Elementary — Oklahoma City
Eugene Field Elementary — Oklahoma City
Fox Elementary — Fox
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary — Oklahoma City
Midwest City Elementary — Midwest City
Mustang Elementary — Mustang

Peary Elementary — Tulsa
Remington Elementary — Tulsa
Riverside Indian School — Anadarko
Sangre Ridge Elementary — Stillwater
Stanley Hupfeld Academy — Oklahoma City
Thelma Parks Elementary — Oklahoma City
Westfield Elementary — Edmond
White Rock Elementary — McLoud

The annual Be Smart-Don't Start initiative helps educate school-aged children about the dangers of tobacco use, and how to make smart choices to live a healthy lifestyle. SMO guests were also treated to the debut of the Be Smart-Don't Start music video  at the event.

For the past 13 years, BCBSOK has reached thousands of Oklahoma youth with vital education through the Be Smart-Don't Start Anti-Tobacco program. According to the Oklahoma Turning Point Council, approximately 88,000 Oklahoma youth, who are alive today, will die prematurely of smoking related illnesses. Although Oklahoma has seen a significant decrease in smokers in the past decade, approximately 22 percent of Oklahoma youth still smoke.

"BCBSOK is committed to investing in programs that enrich the health, well-being and quality of life for Oklahoma children and families," said Ted Haynes, President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. "Initiatives like the Be Smart-Don't Start Anti-Tobacco program give Oklahoma's children an opportunity to learn about the dangers of tobacco in a unique, hands-on setting."

Be Smart-Don't Start program partners, American Cancer Society , American Lung Association , Newspapers in Education , Oklahoma City Energy FC , Oklahoma City-County Health Department , Oklahoma State University , Operation Aware , Science Museum Oklahoma  and University of Oklahoma  were present with hands-on, educational activities for children to enjoy. BCBSOK's Mobile Assistance Center was also on-site with healthy trivia and prizes for students.

Jeannie Pham, BCBSOK Community Outreach Specialist, does Be Smart-Don't Start anti-tobacco trivia with a student.

Students at Be Smart-Don't Start event learned about the dangers of smoking from partners like American Lung Association, who used a set of animal lungs to demonstrate internal damage caused by smoking. A record number of partners collaborated to help make the 2016 event a success.

From left to right: Jeannie Pham, BCBSOK Community Outreach Specialist, Pistol Pete, Sooner, Blaze the Braggin' Blue Dragon, Otto, and Christian Gray, BCBSOK Community Outreach Specialist, teamed up to help children learn the dangers of smoking at the 2016 Be Smart-Don't Start Day at Science Museum Oklahoma.

View 2016 news