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Entertaining and enlightening tobacco education

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 at 3:52 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school district invites parents to a free presentation called “Addiction and the Teenage Brain,” from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Willow Creek Center, 1036 Mohr Lane in Concord.

I got a sneak preview this morning at Sequoia Middle School in Pleasant Hill, where students were blown away by Victor DeNoble’s lively presentation, which included straight talk about drugs and the gleeful unveiling of two brains: one from a monkey and one from a man. Both were damaged by nicotine.

Students were spellbound. They squealed. They laughed. They “oohed.” And they “aaahed.”

DeNoble is a first-rate story-teller, who shows that scientific research is important in shaping public health policies. This was no boring lecture.

This was an energetic man on a mission, whose eyes lit up as he described the research he did on rats, monkeys and finally — a human brain.

He was animated and blunt, keeping students hanging on his every word.

DeNoble said he met a 61-year-old man who was dying from cancer in a hospital after having smoked cigarettes for years.

He said to the man: “After you’re dead, can I have your brain?”

Even though the man had quit smoking two years earlier, he told DeNoble he still woke up every morning craving a cigarette. DeNoble said it can take five to 10 years after a person quits before their brain stops the craving.

Here’s more information about his presentation in a story that will appear in tomorrow’s Contra Costa Times:

The presentation is funded through a Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) grant.

DeNoble is visiting several district schools this week, speaking to seventh-graders, ninth-graders and alternative high school students.

Do you think programs like this are beneficial?

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