APRIL 28, 1997

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Smoking billboard attractive to youth

smoking billboard I appreciate the "Letter to the Editor" about removing the "Joe Camel" billboard at the main intersection in Woodinville.
   My 4-year-old son was very attracted to the illustration when he first saw it. After I expressed my disapproval for the "smoking ad" that we are forced to look at in this larger than life image, he now boldly states, "We don't like the smoking camel. Doesn't he know he'll get sick and die from doing that?" He, as well as the rest of my children, are trying to shake off the lasting impression this colorful ad makes.
   To me, this was proof positive these ads do affect our youth (even toddlers). We must guide them away from this harmful legal addictive substance. What is a smoking ad doing placed in the heart of a clean air town anyway?
   I have also been concerned with the Woodinville High School "smokers' alley corner." After two years of driving past it to take my eldest child to Woodin Elementary and home, I met with Jan Peterson, vice principal at Woodinville High, about this problem involving many of Woodinville's youth who attend public school. I asked her to communicate to the high school students how much their example does affect the elementary students. I even volunteered to help encourage these kids away from there, and help them back to class or move them along their way. The offer was turned down. I can't help but notice the students are still completing their slow suicide mission all day in front of the very young.
   Just as rotten fruit touches the rest of the unspoiled harvest--the rot spirals fast! It is the same with our youth.
   P.S. I can only wonder how ages 18 and under are obtaining these cigarettes? Any ideas, Mom and Dad?

Cindy Lou Cottle, Woodinville