By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Llano Estacado Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition is taking steps in Lubbock to raise awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco products. Today 1,200 pairs of shoes wound through Kastman Park.
Some old, some new, they stretched 300 feet in length; all symbolized the 1,200 people who die daily due to tobacco use.
Coalition member Liz Broadstreet's sister-in-law Barbara Broadstreet recently became one of those statistics. "I think they've pretty well smoked their whole life," said Liz.
It cost Barbara her life. After getting 2/3 of her lung removed, at just 44-years old, Barbara, a surgical assistant at UMC, died of lung cancer because of smoking. Her funeral was Saturday. "It has an impact on the whole family. It's been a hard two months and she is survived by two daughters, 22 and 24 years old and 6 grand kids," said Liz.
Tobacco related deaths like this are the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing more than 430,000 deaths a year in the nation.
People walking by the display at the park could read facts about tobacco use. Some mentioned how nicotine is just as addictive as cocaine or heroine. Others stated how second hand smoke can lead to death and how cigarette smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals.
One poster quoted tobacco executive R.J. Reynolds as saying this when asked if he smoked: "We don't smoke it, we just reserve the right to smoke for the young, the poor, the black, and the stupid."
The coalition hopes the display will impact those who see it. "I hope that if it just affects one person, to let one person live a little bit longer to enjoy their family," said Liz.
These shoes will go on display in Levelland on Thursday during the American Cancer Society's "Great American Smoke-out". After that, the shoes will be shipped to Africa for people without shoes.
For those trying to quit smoking, you can call this free Quitline at 1-877-YES-QUIT. Lubbock County residents along with seven surrounding counties can receive free nicotine replacements like gum or the patch for a limited time.
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