Winning photo essay tells story of no nicotine

Joe Burris of Northern Middle School is the winner of a recent photo essay contest held by the Accident Community Planning Group to discourage the use of nicotine. His photo was taken in Deep Creek Lake State Park.

ACCIDENT — Joe Burris of Northern Middle School won a recent photo essay contest held by the Accident Community Planning Group. “Wherever you live and breathe, make it nicotine free” was the theme of the contest open to Northern Middle and High School students.

“Joe’s essay gives us a window into his mind and heart and his commitment to remain nicotine-free to enjoy the world around him,” said Sharon Custer, tobacco treatment specialist at the Garrett County Health Department.

Here is the complete essay:

“I took this picture when I was taking a hike through Deep Creek Lake State Park. Taking pictures with my new camera, I was breathing in the fresh mountain air and realized if I used any nicotine product, I would be limited in what I could do.

“If I smoked or vaped, my lungs would be stunted. I could have trouble breathing and enjoying the amazing air untouched by pollution here unlike where I moved from with all the factories and power plants. We would often have Code Orange or Code Red days during the summer. The effects of those days were compared to the effects of smoking or vaping.

“If I used non-inhalant nicotine products like chewing tobacco, I could develop mouth cancer and not be able to taste the fresh produce from the beautiful mountains of Garrett County. Once nicotine is introduced into the body, you can develop a dependency for it. I would be limited in all that I could achieve if addicted to nicotine.

“My photo shows the beauty of the wilderness, the road, and the foliage untouched by the harmful chemicals and consequences of not being nicotine free.”

The Accident Community Planning Group is supported in part by funds from the Garrett County Health Department.

For more information about planning groups around the county, call 301-334-7730.

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