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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • SWAT group wants tobacco free library

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  • By Jennifer Lindsey
    jennifer.lindsey@ardmoreite.com
    Students Working Against Tobacco are now looking to have Ardmore Public Library be tobacco free.
    Currently, people can smoke in a designated area located around the flag pole.
    Wednesday, wearing signs to support their cause, members collected signatures of support from people entering and exiting the library.
    "It's cold, but we're doing it for a good cause," Vincent Cavallo said.
    Members also wrote messages on the sidewalk with chalk.
    "Even after we're done today, people can see the message," Cavallo said.
    Members donned gloves and picked up cigarette butts that littered the ground outside the library.
    "Kids or animals may pick it up and eat it," Madison Sayter said.
    The students were not without naysayers. Some people yelled at the students about their right to smoke cigarettes, but they handled it well.
    "We're not against smokers," Paige Shumaker said. "We're just trying to get our community to get clean air. I have asthma, so I want the smoking area to get taken down."
    Other reasons for the policy change include the dangers of second-hand smoke.
    "Even people who don't have asthma can be affected," Anthony Pierce said. "Second-hand smoke is dangerous to everyone's health."
    After petitioning outside the library for about half an hour, the students went inside to conduct their monthly meeting, which focused on what to do next.
    Library Director Daniel Gibbs talked to the students about his own experiences with smoking, growing up with severe asthma and how to change library policy.
    Adrienne Rollins, state SWAT youth coordinator, worked with the students on what actions can be next as they work to make the library tobacco free. She also discussed creating persuasive speeches for public meetings.
    The group plans to present its arguments to the library board and city commissioners.
    "I think the environment should have clean air," Brooklyn Jones said.
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