Smaller "Smoke Out" trades smokes for prizes
November 15, 2007 3:36 PM
An annual event promoting SF State’s “smoke-free campus” policy and encouraging smokers to quit populated a solitary table Thursday, sharing the Quad with a larger and louder cultural festival.
SF State’s third “Great American Smoke Out” since the campus prohibited smoking on campus except within designated smoking areas enjoyed less support than in previous years, promoted by volunteers from Health Education Student Association (HESA) with materials provided by Student Health Service (SHS).
In past years, HESA joined other student volunteers and SHS workers in a shaded group of tables on the Quad, giving turkey sandwiches to smokers in exchange for their cigarettes, said Kelsey Branca, president of HESA.
This time, on a chilly, misty midmorning near a Malcolm X Plaza alive with colorful ethnic dancing and singing, a handful of HESA members handed out raffle tickets for a $25 gift certificate to Stonestown Galleria to smokers willing to part with a cigarette. 12 passersby did—one donated an entire pack, and two students smoked in front of the table while offering theirs. Those visiting the table could take numerous pieces of literature on services from SHS and others to help smokers quit, as well as free candy and T-shirts.
Christine Ballas, who put out her cigarette just before writing her name on a raffle ticket, said she will eventually stop smoking because “every time I go to the doctor, every time I talk with someone older than me, they say I need to stop smoking. My mom tells me to stop smoking.” The 19-year-old art major said she sees smoking as a “young fad thing” and would definitely quit before she thought about having children.
“It’s challenging to get [people walking by] involved. They assume you’re trying to sell them something,” said Branca, who estimated about 40 people visited the table between 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and was pleased with the event. Those who traded a cigarette for a raffle ticket will be “smoking one less cigarette. Small choices add up.”
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