Thursday, November 19, 2009


A spark. A trail of smoke. A single ash falls to the ground. A cigarette is lit and, just like the highly addictive substances conveniently wrapped in paper, another life goes up in flames. Each year, nearly four million people die from complications directly linked to tobacco use. A club situated in our very own HCHS, known as JEL (Just Eliminate Lies), is bent on getting the stories, the evidence, and the truth about such damaging products out to the rest of the students. And they're doing it the best way they know how to get to the teenaged population... THROUGH THEIR STOMACHS!

I'm Danielle Hernandez, and in case you didn't notice, the Harlan Chapter of JEL was giving away free cupcakes during lunch. If you didn't get one, let me tell you, you missed out! Not only were the cupcakes delicious (seriously!) they carried a message. And I like having my tiny cakes and eating it, too.

According to Mrs. Rasmussen, a co-sponsor of JEL, the cupcakes were given away in celebration of all the birthdays of people who had given up smoking as part of this year's theme "Less Cancer, More Birthdays". To point out the obvious, when you give up smoking you don't die, and when you don't die you live longer, and when you live longer you celebrate more birthdays. Yes I know. Obvious.

Another part of the Cupcake Extravaganza was a giant cake posted near the wall in the cafeteria. Every candle held the name of a person who had successfully given up smoking, written down by a student. There was also a bulletin board filled with facts against smoking. For example, did you know that smokers typically die ten years sooner than their counterparts? Well, now you do. It was a powerful source of information, and I really thought it enforced their cause.

I think the whole stunt was pretty successful. I mean, who doesn't enjoy free cupcakes? And while people were enjoying their food, they were reminded that if they didn't start (or perhaps quit) smoking, there would be a whole lot more cupcakes to enjoy in the future. Of course, there are many other benefits as well. If you're interested in joining JEL, you can speak with either of the guidance counselors, president Becca Stein, or other current members.

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