Kim Kins Dixon remembers during health class in sixth grade seeing a display with a healthy lung alongside a blackened, shriveled smoker’s lung.
It left an indelible imprint on her, and she resolved then and there she’d never smoke a cigarette.
And she never has.
But the East Middle School art teacher wants to protect today’s youth from picking up the habit, which is the inspiration for her anti-smoking comic book “Think Before Stink.”
The 90-page full-color comic book depicts the exploits of Minty Candy and Piece of Gum against Cigarette. The comic book is intended to be educational and includes activities for children to complete after reading each chapter.
“I want kids to feel they have the right and the power to say no to smoking,” Dixon said. “It’s stinky and it’s gross and there’s nothing positive about it.”
Dixon self-published the comic book, but hopes that she can make a “teacher pack” someday, to allow teachers to use the comic book to teach their students about the dangers of smoking. She believes the activities at the end of each chapter help reinforce the message of the comic book.
Dixon said she spent several years creating the drawings for the comic. She has a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Montana and has been 27 years in Butte. She’s been an art teacher at East Middle School for the past 17 years.
The ideas for the comic book pages came fast and furious, Dixon said, and she just couldn’t stop drawing. When the book reached 90 pages she realized she had to call it quits. She thinks the comic book medium is a powerful one for helping children learn.
“They’re simple, and everybody needs a little giggle,” she said.
But more than the humorous side of the book, available on amazon.com, Dixon hopes it will help instill early in children that they should never smoke.
“It’s having the conviction in yourself to say, ‘No, I’m never going to do it,’” she said. “It’s my dream (the book) will do good.”
Reach Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-496-5572.