Christine Lee, NBC 5 Irving Reporter
The Irving Independent School District and Baylor Medical Center at Irving are taking their "don't start smoking" message to a younger crowd, students in 5th grade.
Baylor Irving is teaching middle school students about the dangers of tobacco use.
For more than 16 years, the hospital and the Irving school district have partnered to educate preteens and teens about tobacco use.
Seventh-graders at Bowie Middle School said they learned about the dangers of smoking for the first time on Wednesday.
"You get more wrinkles, like your eyes can cave in a little bit more," 13-year-old Brenda Flores said.
"You get older at a faster rate than anybody else that doesn't smoke," 12-year-old Taylor Olvera said.
For the first time, Baylor Irving began giving the presentation to fifth-graders this school year. The hospital says children begin to smoke as young as 10 years old.
"They can start smoking as young as 10, 11, 12, and so we got feedback from schools that maybe we were waiting too late," said Pam Beers, community outreach manager.
Beers said a majority of Irving children live with smokers, so there is a need to effectively teach them from an early age about the danger of smoking.
Much of the 45-minute presentation focuses on showing the difference between a non-smoker and a smoker and highlighting the dangers of what smoking does to your body.
Beers said the presentation uses pig lungs, which are similar to human lungs, as examples.
"They used special effects to make the lungs look like somebody smoked for 10 years, so they see these nice pink lungs and these black lungs and so that never leaves," she said.