Boys picture 'spit tobacco' peril Winning posters bring two youths prize of attending baseball game

July 24, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Two Maryland youths have joined the battle against "spit tobacco."

Winning posters designed by Jonathan Adams, 11, of Sykesville and Christian Davis, 14, of Tyaskin near Salisbury, are part of a national campaign to eradicate the leading cause of oral cancer.

The boys won "really cool seats" for Monday's Orioles game against Minnesota.

"It was a great game," said Christian, who rarely gets to Camden Yards from his home in Wicomico County. "We got to see Eddie [Murray] on his first time back."

"And Eddie hit a home run," said Jonathan, who invited his mother along to thank her for helping him with the poster.

The winners also earned pregame recognition -- their posters were shown on the big board -- and they met a few players.

Joe Garagiola, chairman of the National Spit Tobacco Education Program (NSTEP), which sponsored the contest, introduced the boys to the spectators.

"He really complimented me on my poster," said Jonathan, an outfielder who plays in the Sykesville Baseball League. "I am glad I entered, and I understand now why spit tobacco is bad for you."

With baseball as the theme, entrants were to create a slogan relating to the dangers of chewing tobacco. Jonathan saw a flier for a contest at the Eldersburg library and immediately "checked out a bunch of books" on tobacco.

"I found out you can get sick from lung and mouth cancer," he said. "It looks pretty nasty when I see somebody chewing it. I don't want to think about what could happen later."

For his slogan, Jonathan took a cue from Cal Ripken, his favorite Oriole. His poster says, "Don't miss your moment in time. Don't chew tobacco."

Contest information went to local health departments and libraries.

Dorothy Davis, an employee of the Wicomico County Health Department, interested her son in the contest. After a little research, Christian said, he discovered that "oral cancer can make you look really bad."

Concerned about what could happen to other players, Christian chose for his slogan: "Don't spit, because a batter might slip."

About 25 children entered the Maryland contest, which was open to students in grades four through eight. Judges based their selections on creativity and content.

NSTEP will use the winning slogans and pictures on its posters and T-shirts.

Pub Date: 7/24/96

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