Utah cowboy urges kids to live healthily
By Melody Martinsen- Acantha editor Choteau, Montana
Utah based healthy lifestyles advocate and media personality, "Cowboy Ted" Hallisey was on the trail in Teton County last week, encouraging kids to "Give Tobacco the Boot."
The rodeo journalist visited Choteau Public Schools and worked with school personnel, the Teton County Sheriff's Office and the Teton County Health Department during Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-27.
Hallisey is a former Salt Lake City radio personality and nationally known rodeo journalist. He was invited to Teton County to kick off Red Ribbon Week activities. He serves as a spokesperson for the Buck Tobacco program in California and the National Tobacco-Free Rodeo program. He visited students in grades K-6 to talk about healthy lifestyles and the danger of tobacco use, with an emphasis on spit tobacco.
Hallisey hosted a 45-minute assembly at schools to encourage kids to adopt a healthy lifestyle patterned after his "Kids Club" model of eight-rules for good health, which relate to the eight-second ride in the sport of rodeo and which are listed on his Web site www.cowboyted.com.
During the assembly, he talked to the kids about the benefits of good health and the dangers of tobacco and the fact that more deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined. Montana ranks among the leaders in the nation for youth tobacco use. The well-known cowboy educator also taught students how to rope the indoor bull during his visit. There was an emphasis on reading and exercise along with good nutrition habits to lead to a comprehensive program for good health for kids.
Hallisey was a presenter at the National Tobacco Awareness and Education Conference in Chicago and in Washington, D.C. He presented at the Spit Tobacco Summit for the past two years and was the featured presenter during the National Spit Tobacco Summit held in Casper, Wyo., in 2005.
Cowboy Ted's Foundation for Kids is a Utah nonprofit corporation. The mission statement is as follows: "To introduce young people to a positive cowboy role model, who will encourage youngsters to choose a healthy lifestyle for themselves, including the choice to refuse to use tobacco products."
The toll of tobacco in Montana
• 20.1 percent of high school students (11,000 kids) smoke.
• 22.8 percent of high school boys use smokeless or spit tobacco. Girls use much less.
• 1,500 kids under 18 become new daily smokers each year.
• About 52,000 kids are exposed to secondhand smoke at home.
• 2.3 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked by kids each year.
• 19.2 percent or 140,200 adults in Montana smoke.
Nationwide, youth smoking has declined dramatically since the mid-1990s, but that decline appears to have slowed considerably or even stopped in recent years. The 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that the percentage of high school students reporting that they have smoked cigarettes in the past month increased to 23 percent in 2005 from 21.9 percent in 2003. This increase follows a 40 percent decline between 1997, when rates peaked at 36.4 percent, and 2003. The survey also found that 13.6 percent of high school boys use spit tobacco. U.S. adult smoking has decreased gradually in the last several decades, and 20.9 percent of U.S. adults (about 45 million) currently smoke.
More detailed fact sheets on tobacco's toll in each state are available by e-mailing email@example.com.