Elementary student wants to see cigarettes taken from shelves

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Xeth Garcia doesn't like a type of candy. For a second-grader, that is a bold statement. More than 200 students from East Elementary School share that conviction.

Led by Garcia, the message from East Elementary is simple take candy cigarettes off the shelves.

"On TV, they use two fingers like a real cigarette," Garcia said. "When kids go into Kum and Go and buy the candy ones, they pretend to smoke them when they go outside."

Garcia's campaign began during Red Ribbon Week in October when East Elementary Counselor Amy Jones held an anti-drug presentation in each of the classes at the school. During her presentation in Garcia's class, Garcia asked, "If you don't want us to smoke cigarettes, why are they selling candy cigarettes?"

"We approve of what he is doing," Jones said. "The whole school is also very supportive."

Garcia wants candy cigarettes taken off the shelves. As a replacement, he wants manufacturers to make more "fun-dips," which, according to Garcia, taste the same and do not promote using real cigarettes.

"I think candy cigarettes are bad for kids to use," Garcia said. "They think they are cool by using them."

Garcia, with the help of Jones, composed "East Elementary's Challenge to Local Stores," a written piece to be sent to area merchants selling candy cigarettes. It reads:

"This last week we celebrated Red Ribbon Week at East Elementary School. During Red Ribbon Week we learned that cigarettes could kill you. What we want to know is why are there candy cigarettes? East Elementary thinks that candy cigarettes are very, very bad for kids. If kids try to be cool with candy cigarettes, they might smoke real cigarettes. We think candy cigarettes shouldn't be in Craig, Colorado."

The letter was sent to area businesses on Wednesday and responses should get back to Garcia by next week.

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