November 08, 2018

‘1Day Stand’ against tobacco and second-hand smoke is Wednesday

Wellness and Health Promotion Services is hosting a campaign on campus Wednesday that raises awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke.

WHPS will be at the Student Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. handing out free oral health kits to students and resources will be available for faculty, staff and students who want to quit using tobacco and other nicotine products. The event is supported by the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative.

SIU became a smoke-free campus in 2015 to ensure all students, employees and guests experience a safe and healthy environment.

“College is a time when young people are at a higher risk to begin smoking and to transition from experimental to regular tobacco use,” Dr. Ted Grace, director of Student Health Services, said. “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.”

Grace added that being a smoke-free campus is especially helpful.

 “Smoke-free policies are an effective way to reduce tobacco use by preventing initiation and making it easier for smokers to quit,” said Grace. “Policies have also been shown to decrease smoking rates and change positive attitudes about smoking.”

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 nationwide each year.

All state college campuses in Illinois and more than 2,200 campuses nationwide are smoke-free, or have a smoke- or tobacco-free policy in place. In 2010, there were 420 campuses.

“Students understand the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, but quitting tobacco is hard,” said Brianna Sinche, wellness coordinator and tobacco cessation educator. “If you know someone who is looking to quit, be their wingman and support them today and through the process. Your encouragement could help them quit for good.”

Wellness and Health Promotion Services provides tobacco cessation education for interested students. More information on tobacco cessation is available online or by calling 536-4441. More information on the university’s campus smoke-free policy is also available online.