University to participate in Great American Smokeout Nov. 20 | UToledo News

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University to participate in Great American Smokeout Nov. 20

In an effort to end smoking and raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use, The University of Toledo will join the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout this week.

butt out 2014Sponsored by the UT Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention Program, the University event will take place Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Student Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The goal of the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention Program is to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of smoking, as well as the social and health benefits that occur when a person stops smoking.

“Socially, people don’t want to be around other people that are smoking. I think in today’s culture, people are more aware of the negative health impacts smoking has on them. We also want to show how much money people spend on cigarettes,” said Dr. Will Pescok, associate director and administrator of the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention Program.

Pharmacy students will be on hand to give carbon monoxide tests to smokers so they can measure their lung capacity and also to show the amount of carcinogens that enter their body when they smoke.

The Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention Program is challenging smokers to quit cold turkey for 72 hours. At the event, smokers can exchange a pack of cigarettes for a $5 gift card to purchase a cold turkey sandwich or to use at the Barnes & Noble University Bookstore. T-shirts, prizes and other giveaways also will be part of the challenge.

“Our intent is to make a permanent change; the idea with substance use is that you want people to abstain for a given period of time,” Pescok said. “The longer people abstain, the more likely they are to quit.”

Pescok said that it is important to have an event like this on a college campus because students are at a pivotal point in their lives.

“In my mind, I think we can reach more people at the right time. I think we have a student body that is open and educated and can see some of the problems of smoking. I think this is also a good time over a student’s developmental life cycle to quit smoking,” he said.

Another goal of the events for the Great American Smokeout is to promote the revised tobacco policy that was passed earlier this year.

“We want to stimulate a culture change on campus,” said Antonique Ingraham, a doctoral public health student and graduate assistant for the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention Program. “For some time now, we have been hearing a lot about quitting smoking and the dangers of tobacco use, but it is important for us to stimulate that environment here.”

The Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention Program will be handing out quit kits and other information about smoking and about how to quit. Employees can go through Rocket Wellness if they are interested in quitting.

For more information about the Great American Smokeout, contact Pescok at will.pescok@utoledo.edu.

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