U.S. Colleges Butting Out On Smoking
On the third Thursday of November each year, the American Cancer Society hosts "The Great American Smokeout" (GAS). And now, colleges and universities across the country are kicking in with their own efforts.
University of Hawai'i at Manoa Off the Pacific Coast, UHM's University Health Services Health Promotion Program hosted their own GAS event with more than 20 school organizations. Their health fair included free popcorn and prizes, giveaways, and a massage therapist, all with the goal of making the campus tobacco-free by January 1st, 2014.
University of Kentucky True to form of being in the United States' "Bluegrass State", the University of Kentucky is hosting a "tobacco tailgate" in honor of the GAS. The UK already has a head start on other schools, as they've been tobacco-free for four years coming into the 38th annual GAS.
Minnesota Over in the Midwest, the University of St. Thomas is planning to make their campus tobacco-free on January 1st, 2014 and used GAS as their stepping stone. Lagging just a little behind is the University of Minnesota, making all campuses except Morris tobacco-free on July 1st, 2014. Lastly, Minnesota's private and public colleges are also onboard with tobacco bans, with the former including Bethel, Northwestern, St. Catherine and St. Scholastica, while the latter consist of Bemidji, Mankato, Marshall, Moorhead, St. Cloud and Winona.
University of Alabama Not just known for their dominant football team, the University of Alabama is also taking a leading step with their anti-tobacco campaign. They hosted a flash mob where about 135 students "dropped dead" from secondhand smoke, signifying the dangers of smoking with the aim of moving toward a smoke-free campus.
When students go off to college, with many of them experiencing being away from home for the first time, the pressure to succeed can sometimes be overwhelming. University courses and essays are nothing like their high school counterparts, and students have to suddenly deal with "adult" tasks like paying rent, buying groceries and cooking, setting a budget, paying for their own healthcare-related appointments, and being in charge of their own household.
Smoking can seem like one way to ease the stress and pressure, but it comes with more costs—both health and financial—than benefits. But as the above schools have demonstrated, you're more likely than not attending a campus that's either tobacco-free or on its way soon.