BY KRISTIN COX
For the UAS Whalesong
November 19th is the Great American Smoke-Out and UAS is marking the event by celebrating its recent Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus policy.
UAS is encouraging current tobacco users to be tobacco-free for one day as part of the “1Day Stand” against tobacco campaign. Supported by the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative Challenge, the campaign seeks to raise awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke and help tobacco users to quit.
“College is a time when young people are at a higher risk for starting smoking and transitioning from experimental to regular tobacco use,” says Dr. Kristin Cox, Tobacco Prevention Specialist. “We want to encourage life-long healthy habits and ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone on campus. That’s why we are taking this stand and supporting those looking to quit.”
On November 19th from 11-2, there will be an information table in the cafeteria with Quitline Resources, a Tobacco Jeopardy game and other giveaways. You can also sign a “tobacco-free for a day” pledge to enter a prize drawing.
“Students understand the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, but quitting tobacco is hard,” said Marjorie Thompson, UAS counselor. “If you know someone who is looking to quit, be their wing man and support them today and through the process. Your encouragement could help them kick the habit for good. ” The UAS counseling and nurses office have Nicotine Replacement Therapy available for students and staff and they can help you sign up for the Alaska Tobacco Quitline.
Studies show that 99 percent of all regular tobacco users start by the age of 26. Tobacco is also the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States – and secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 49,400 heart and lung cancer deaths each year nationwide.
“Smoke-free policies are an effective way to reduce tobacco use by preventing initiation and making it easier for smokers to quit,” said Dr. Cox. “Policies have also been shown to decrease smoking rates and positive attitudes toward tobacco use.”
We are proud that UAS was the first college campus in Alaska to implement a smoke and tobacco-free campus policy on July 1st of this year. We congratulate UAA on implementing their smoke and tobacco-free policy November 19th and UAF on December 31st. To date approximately 1,577 campuses nationwide – have a smoke- or tobacco-free policy in place. This is in sharp contrast to 420 campuses in 2010.
With support, UAS tobacco users can turn a 1Day Stand into a 365Day Stand and become non-smokers. And that’s something that we can all be proud of.
BY KRISTIN COX