Edison Teen Teaches Fourth Graders About The Dangers Of Tobacco

EDISON—Fourth graders at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison learned about the dangers of tobacco use during a special “Tar Wars” presentation led by sophomore and Edison resident Shruti Nadkarni on the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 1. The program consisted of a PowerPoint presentation and several creative activities.

Ardys Sapchin, physical education department chair, explained that Nadkarni took the initiative and approached Lower School Head Regina Bassoul-Restivo about bringing her message to the students.


During one exercise, the students were instructed to hold their noses and jog in place for 15 seconds while breathing through a straw in order to demonstrate how tobacco use can impact lung function and respiration.

Nadkarni also reviewed with the students how purchasing tobacco is also fruitless. For one week, tobacco costs $35; one month totals $155; and one year equals $1,825. She also explained the reasons why people chose to use tobacco, such as: peer pressure, creating a ‘mature’ or ‘cool’ image, or to lose weight.

In another exercise, students examined laminated tobacco advertisements and determined the message the advertiser was trying to send about tobacco use. Whether cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco were being sold, the students knew that the advertiser’s message was wrong and misleading: smoking is harmful to your health and won’t make you a ‘cooler’ or ‘more attractive’ person.

The students will put their creative skills to use when they enter an anti-smoking poster contest sponsored by The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Nadkarni said, “Tar Wars is a tobacco-free program sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Cigarette smoking for children is becoming a fast-growing epidemic; statistics show about 3,500 kids in the United States try their first cigarette ever day.”

Shruti was assisted by her mother, Dr. Swati Nadkarni of Medi Center of Edison. She is a family practice physician with specialization in geriatric medicine.

Shruti Nadkarni of Edison, a sophomore at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, presented an anti-smoking program to fourth graders on the afternoon of February 1. She is pictured beside her PowerPoint presentation. Photo by Michelle Daino/Wardlaw-Hartridge School

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