Mason MV. Residents Make a Difference in the Fight Against Tobacco. JAMA. 1998;280(13):1136. doi:10.1001/jama.280.13.1136
Prepared by Gloria Robertson, Department of Resident Physician Services,
American Medical Association.
A vital part of being a physician is reaching out to the surrounding
community and making it a better place in which to live. Resident physicians
from across the country were given the opportunity to put this into practice
by participating in an antismoking essay contest for children and young teens
sponsored by the American Medical Association Resident Physicians Section
(AMA-RPS) and the AMA Foundation (formerly the Education and Research Foundation).
The essay contest, "Smoking Is Not for Me!" gave residents the opportunity
to educate their communities about the dangers of smoking and to make a difference
in the health of their patients.
In conjunction with the essay contest, residents made presentations
at nearly 100 elementary and middle schools. During the presentations, students
were able to see firsthand the damaging effects that smoking has on the body.
Students were given the opportunity to inspect an actual diseased lung, which
had belonged to a smoker who died of lung cancer. The facts about smoking
now took on new meaning as students discovered, through the use of a peak
flow meter, how laborious it would be to breathe with obstructive lung disease.
After these vivid demonstrations, the students were excited about participating
in the essay contest to help discourage their peers from starting the addictive
habit of smoking.
Residents from across the country judged more than 8600 entries on the
basis of their style, creativity, content, and clarity. Winners were selected
on both the state and national level. Through a generous grant of $5000 from
the AMA Foundation, we awarded $100 saving bonds to 4 national finalists and
40 state winners.
The grand prize was awarded to Michael Korizis, a seventh grader at
St Bede the Venerable School in Richboro, Pa. Michael won a $500 savings bond
and trip to Chicago, Ill, for himself and 1 parent to read his poem before
the AMA-RPS Assembly.
Here is Michael's poem:
Smoking is not for me, I always knew it would never be. I
would like to live a long life and have children and a wife!
Chewing tobacco can ruin your jaw, Under age smoking is against
the law. Smoking cigarettes is very expensive, and some people
find it quite offensive!
Drinking, smoking and sniffing, The consequences are all the
same. Damaging your liver or heart or what is left of your rotted
When I grow up and have children, I hope they will feel the same
way. I hope they won't smoke at all, Never mind three packs
I always used to wonder, about kids who used to smoke, If
they care about their health, or thought the outcome was just a joke!
So take a look around you, What do you see? People smoking
everywhere, Is that who you want to be?
I know someone who used to smoke, I never liked being around
that folk. Smoke from cigarettes gives me a bloody nose, and
I can smell smoke on a smoker's clothes!
Pay attention, and listen close, I have one thing to say, don't
start smoking, Anytime, anyplace, or any day.—Michael Korizis
As we work toward the AMA's goal of a smoke-free society by the year
2000, we hope that our educational efforts will continue to discourage youth
from smoking. In the upcoming year, the AMA-RPS will continue its fight against
youth tobacco use by sponsoring a national poster contest entitled "No Ifs,
Ands, or BUTTS!—No Smoking." Once again, we encourage sixth to eighth
graders from across the country to put on their thinking caps and design a
poster warning their peers that smoking is dangerous. For more information
about the "No Ifs, Ands, or BUTTS!—No Smoking" contest, contact the
Department of Resident Physician Services at (312) 464-4751
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.