First Ever Smoke-Free Day on Campus
Health educators help students kick the habit
April 10, 2006 12:11 PM
Twenty tables with bright green tablecloths and balloons tied to either side in high traffic areas made the first ever smoke-free campus event a site to be noticed.
A pair of faculty members or students manned each table on March 27, offering passers-by information and resources for smokers who would like to quit, as well as a chance to enter a drawing for prizes like an iPod, a one-month reserved parking space on campus (or one-month Muni pass), and two one-month memberships at the Village Fitness Center, to name a few.
The event, which began, at 10 a.m., and lasted until 1 p.m., was hosted by the Smoking Task Force, in association with the Office of the President.
“The idea was to see a presence on campus strongly advocating a smoke-free environment,” said Albert Angelo, a health educator and task force member.
An SF State student, who worked at one of the tables for most of the afternoon, said that he observed such a presence, adding, “There are enough tables to get people’s attention, then the give-aways get them excited,” said Mike Silberg, 33, a cellular molecular biology major.
Many people stopped to enter the drawing or pick up a lollipop and chat, but the mission of the event was clear and embraced by many students wanting to help make campus a smoke-free environment.
“It’s definitely good to try to deter smoking on campus, and it does bother me especially when I’m waiting for my food,” said Maura McGowan, 22, a theater arts senior, as she stopped by a table beside Café Rosso and picked up a map of the designated smoking areas. “It's like a silent protest, a lot of people know that there are designated smoking areas but feel that anywhere outdoors is free domain.”
There were two tables set up near Café Rosso. Angelo and other task force members focused on areas of high traffic and places where people tended to smoke, regardless of whether or not it was a smoking area. Despite SF State’s no smoking policy, Angelo had seen many students smoking around the Business building and had tables set up all the way around the area. There were two set up at 19th Street and Holloway Street, a few on Centennial Street, and more lining the walkways through the quad.
While students like, McGowan, just dropped by to show support, others took advantage of the information and resources the event had to offer. Students and faculty, who were working at the tables said that more people approached them for information and resources to help a friend quit smoking, rather than themselves.
Nkeiruka Oruche, 22, a health education senior, who worked at a table outside the Cesar Chavez Student Center, spoke to a few smokers, giving them hand-outs on resources and how to quit, then redirecting them to a campus smoking area.
“It’s a policy on campus and it needs to be enforced,” Oruche said. “All you have to do is ask them to move and they will.”
All in all, student and faculty workers said that they were pleased with the turnout.
“It’s important to adopt a healthy campus and encourage students to adopt a healthy lifestyle,” said Angelo. “Recognizing that effects of tobacco is dangerous is part of that lifestyle.”
However, not all SF State students recognize such effects as dangerous.
Eighteen-year-old Sashaenka Goodall said that she’s never been asked to go to a designated area while smoking on campus and probably wouldn’t go if asked.
“When I saw the tables I lit a cigarette,” said Goodall, biology freshman. “It’s stupid, cars pollute more than secondhand smoke does, and we’re outside,” she said, smoking in front of the Humanities building.
For more information on the smoke-free campus policy and the Smoke Free Task Force go to www.sfsu.edu/~puboff/smokefree/, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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