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Smyrna Park yields tobacco litter in annual Butt Hunt
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Blaker Kinser Junior High students belonging to PHASTjv were busy in Smyrna Park on Oct. 18 combing through cigarette butts and other tobacco product litter. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Blaker Kinser Junior High School students spent part of their Saturday, Oct. 18 hunting for cigarette butts in Smyrna Park.

Members of the Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco (PHAST) club were looking for cigarette butts littering the park in an effort to fight harmful tobacco use.

PHAST is a program sponsored by the Stanislaus County of Education (SCOE) and Blaker Kinser Junior High has 120 members who are committed to role modeling healthy lifestyles, as well as educating their peers on the dangers of tobacco products and nicotine.

The second-ever Butt Hunt for BK attracted 55 eighth-graders for two hours of clean-up of Smyrna Park. An estimated 5,000 pieces of tobacco litter - including butts and cigarette containers -- were collected and then sorted and counted by students. The data will be used to help further efforts to provide a healthy and safe environment for the Ceres community.

"We had a very successful morning and look forward to future anti-tobacco campaigns and activities throughout our school year," said Robin Johnson, a school health/PE teacher who is an adviser to the club. "In the end, my biggest hope is that these students and more will be educated and inspired to make healthy and wise choices and to remain tobacco and nicotine free for their rest of their lives."