Teen does his part to snuff out smoking
Andy Whilden hopes he can clear the air in Craig.
By producing anti-smoking T-shirts, the Moffat County High School ninth-grader is hoping to encourage smokers to quit and teenagers never to start.
“The No. 1 goal is to get the community involved, to consider more about why smoking’s no good,” he said.
His project got under way just two weeks ago, when Whilden’s health teacher Jeff Simon asked his students to participate in helping the community to stop an addiction.
Whilden said Simon recommended writing a letter to the editor or putting an announcement on the radio.
“I thought of this T-shirt idea and included the press,” Whilden said.
“So I did what my teacher wanted, and then I went further.”
He approached Jeremy and Cyme Browning, owners of Chaos Ink, and asked them for help.
“He was more impressive than the average person coming in to get a T-shirt made,” Jeremy said. “I think it’s important for businesses to try and do whatever they can for their customers.”
He decided to donate the time to create the design and the set-up costs.
“I think if people can be persuaded to not start smoking it’s a lot easier than to stop smoking,” Jeremy said.
The T-shirts read, “got air?” on the front. The back says, “Not if you smoke. Instead you’ll have asthma, lung cancer, emphysema or death.”
The money to make the first batch of 24 shirts is being offered by Sunshine Kids LLC Preschool and Child Care.
Whilden is selling the shirts for $10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Kmart.
With the proceeds, Whilden will repay Sunshine Kids and donate the remaining profits to the Moffat County Tobacco Prevention Program.
Whilden wants the funds to go toward youth education and stay in Moffat County.
“They see (the shirts) over and over and it keeps reminding them, ‘I need to quit, I need to quit, I need to quit,'” he said. “Those kind of smokers who are on the verge (of quitting) … it’ll push them over the edge.”
He hopes the effort continues.
“Hopefully it’ll keep expanding and there’ll be enough interest to keep it going,” Whilden said.
The T-shirts are being printed by Chaos Ink.
To see the design, visit http://www.chaosink.com/andy.
“Maybe two kids don’t start smoking because of Andy,” Jeremy said.
“That’s a great thing.”
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Next week, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Moffat County are hosting a free day-long seminar for local ranchers and agriculture producers.