Different organizations held activities on Thursday during common hour and sponsored the Great American Smokeout.
The Great American Smokeout is an effort by the American Cancer Society to promote education on the short and long term effects of using tobacco products. It is held every third Thursday in November.
Renee Bateman, health promotion coordinator at SRU, said the efforts of the American Cancer Society are to make the Smokeout event a national movement. On a local level, HOPE (Health Outreach through Peer Education) and PPHA (Pennsylvania Public Health Association) sponsored the event in the lobby of Bailey Library.
“Educational information will be provided about cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, hookahs and tips to quit,” Bateman said before the event. “Educational literature will also be available to take and share with others. This literature will provide more information on what exactly you’re smoking and when you use e-cigs and current trends about tobacco usage.”
Bateman said that the mission statement of the American Cancer Society is to have smokers make a date to plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. Smokers who quit for even a day will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.
According to statistics on cancer.org, about 40 million Americans still smoke cigarettes and tobacco remains the largest preventable cause of premature death. Data collected by the American College Health Association shows that nearly 24 percent of college students have smoked cigarettes at some point while an additional 15 percent have used e-cigarettes. The use of smoking tobacco has declined sharply since 2013 when 32 percent of students had reportedly smoked cigarettes at some point.
Organizations like HOPE and PHHA aim to continue the trend, informing those who came to the event about the dangers of tobacco products. Cookies and gum were also provided for those who attend.