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Department of Health News

Students to Hear the "Real Story" About Tobacco Use

Buncombe County Department of Health is partnering with two local schools this month to create awareness about the dangers of tobacco use. Students will hear from two speakers who want to encourage young people to quit tobacco if they’re using it or to never start. One of the speakers is a local coach and teacher who will share his personal story about the painful consequences of using tobacco.

Gary Massey is a coach and teacher at North Buncombe High School who began using spit tobacco as a child. “Chewing” was a big part of his life for decades until he was diagnosed with oral cancer a couple of years ago. After suffering through several disfiguring surgeries, Gary tells his story in hopes that he can warn young students about the effects of tobacco use.

Paul Turner is Director of the North Carolina Spit Tobacco Education Program and is a national educator on smokeless tobacco. He is an excellent speaker with a great deal of expertise in presenting to young people.

Gary and Paul are scheduled to talk with students on:

  • Monday, April 15 from 2:00-3:00 p.m at Asheville High School
  • Monday, April 22 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. at Enka Middle School

You are invited to this special opportunity to hear and see the impact tobacco use has on our community members. For more information, please contact Karen Caldwell at Buncombe County Department of Health, 250-5048 or