Speaking Their Language

Tobacco Education


The Cancer Program of Our Lady of the Lake and Mary Bird Perkins and Our Lady of the Lake Foundation Provide Vivid Images for Tobacco Educational Materials

(Baton Rouge, La.) Almost ninety percent of adult smokers begin smoking at or before age eighteen, and the initiation of daily smoking most often begins in grades six through nine, according to the National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse. Because of these statistics, it is clear that reaching middle school students with information on the dangers of tobacco usage is important. This is why the Cancer Program of Our Lady of the Lake (OLOL) and Mary Bird Perkins’ Head and Neck and Lung Multidisciplinary Care (MDC) Teams, with funding from OLOL’s Foundation, have provided three East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools (EBR) with lifelike models and information depicting the toll tobacco can take on the body.

With items such as “Mr. Gross Mouth” and “Fat Furred Artery”, the hope is to make a dramatic statement to the students that tobacco use is dangerous. The information will be aimed at middle school students at several schools since it is during this time period when experimenting with tobacco typically begins.

“For this effort, our MDC teams wanted to get in front of the issue instead of the cessation part after the fact. If kids never begin smoking, they never have to quit. And when the Foundation heard about this initiative, they wanted to be involved. This was a real opportunity for us to all make a difference,” said Marilyn Shalley-Damberg, multidisciplinary cancer care manager for the Cancer Program.

Shalley-Damberg recently presented the education materials to Ken Jenkins, director of student activities for EBR School System.

“These materials will go a long way in helping to make a dramatic statement to our students that tobacco usage can lead to some nasty side effects,” said Jenkins. “You can’t be subtle with messages like this. You have to get their attention. We appreciate the MDC teams’ and OLOL Foundation’s efforts on our behalf.”


The Cancer Program of Our Lady of the Lake and Mary Bird Perkins is the most comprehensive cancer program in the region offering patients the convenience of receiving high-quality, advanced cancer care in one location, close to home. The Cancer Program offers surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and has been accredited by The American College of Surgeons since 1992. This program is a proud participant in the prestigious National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP).