Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) sponsored Be Smart-Don’t Start Anti-Tobacco Day at  Science Museum Oklahoma in May.

More than 2,700 guests received free admission to the museum courtesy of BCBSOK. Approximately 1,700 students representing 21 schools from across the state were present for field trips.

The event celebrated the annual Be Smart–Don’t Start Anti-Tobacco program. The program helps teach school-aged children about the dangers of tobacco use and how to make smart choices to live a healthy lifestyle.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, approximately 3,300 children under the age of 18 will become new smokers each year, setting them up for serious health risks throughout their lives.

BCBSOK initiated the Be Smart-Don’t Start program in 2004 to address this problem, and it has impacted thousands of Oklahoma youth. The Be Smart-Don’t start program uses fun hands-on, educational activities as a prevention tool.

The program includes an anti-tobacco curriculum that is distributed to over 900 teachers in 620 schools through Newspapers in Education, and it is published in The Oklahoman. The program reaches almost 200,000 students and over half a million Oklahoma citizens.

This year our Be Smart-Don’t Start program partners include American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Oklahoma City Energy FC, Oklahoma City-County Health Department, Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma.

BCBSOK's Mobile Assistance Center was on-site with healthy trivia games and giveaways for students. BCBSOK mascot Blaze, the Braggin’ Blue Dragon® was also on hand. The official Be Smart-Don’t Start music video, starring Blaze and Spaghetti Eddie, has been distributed to more than 600 schools in Oklahoma.