Tobacco is a preparation of nicotine-rich leaves dried or fermented. It can be smoked, chewed or sniffed in different forms like cigarettes, cigars and hookah.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Worldwide, tobacco use causes nearly six million deaths per year.
Gannon University Wellness with the university’s respiratory care program, joined by representatives from various offices in the university as well as other organizations in the community, formed a Tobacco-Free Campus Task Force (TFCTF) over a year ago to discuss the idea of working toward a tobacco-free campus by creating a Tobacco-Free initiative.
On the aim of the TFCTF, Michelle Moore, the respiratory care program director, explained that the task force intends to create more awareness about the dangers of tobacco consumption not only to smokers but also those exposed to secondhand and third-hand smoke.
The TFCTF has decided to join the celebration of national tobacco-free days like the Great American Smokeout and National No Smoking day in order to bring to light the health dangers of personal smoking and secondhand smoke.
There will also be showcases at the Wellness Fair, which will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 5, all day at the Recreation and Wellness Center. More events will be organized this semester to keep communicating to people, getting them involved.
The TFCTF cares about smokers in the university, wants them to know the dangers of smoking and is ready to help them when they are ready to quit.
“There may be some who are not ready to quit and it’s understandable because it is a difficult habit but they need to be educated on how to be safe to others,” Moore said.
Both smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk. There is a combination of harmful chemicals, included in cigarettes, hookah and so on and they are all harmful. Those who chew tobacco or use snuff are exposed to the same amount of danger.
The TFCTF is trying to support everyone’s culture and promote a healthy lifestyle.
An undergraduate student who asked to remain anonymous said he smokes occasionally for fun and to relieve stress. He was introduced to smoking a year and half ago by a friend. He is aware of the dangers of smoking but doesn’t believe he is at risk since he smokes once in a while, not every day and will only quit when he can’t control the urge anymore. He thinks the Tobacco-Free initiative is a good idea because it will keep people from becoming smokers.
Aaron Kerr, Ph.D., a professor in the philosophy department and a former smoker, is of the opinion that the Tobacco-Free initiative is a good idea as it will help smokers to be more aware of the danger they are in. He added that smokers continue smoking even though they are aware of the danger because they think those health issues can never happen to them since there are smokers who live until age 90. But they start to care when their health declines and they are unable to perform their daily activities.
Gannon University Wellness will continue to develop ways to help us stay healthy on our wellness journey. To learn more about the dangers of personal smoking and exposure to secondhand and third-hand smoke, attend the Wellness Fair at the Recreation and Wellness Center on Tuesday, Feb. 5.