Thursday might just be a normal day for some people, but for American Cancer Society, the third Thursday of November marks an important event, the Great American Smokeout (GASO). Students on campus, including Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) and HOPE Peer Educators, have planned to bring GASO to campus.
GASO is an annual event started by American Cancer Society to encourage people to quit smoking and provide resources and support.
Kimberly Nickle, a junior Secondary Education major, is secretary of CAC and runs their cancer education program. Herself and others will be outside of Starbucks Thursday to send GASOs’ message to our students. Smoking facts, plans to quit and resources such as websites and helplines will be presented, as well as a form to physically sign to encourage yourself to quit smoking or to help others to stop.
“The effects of smoking are undeniable,” Nickle said. “Smoking has affected my family a lot. My uncle died from lung cancer and my grandfather was affected,” Nickle continued, “If they would have had something like this, maybe they would have quit sooner.”
As an education major, educating and caring for others is a passion of Nickles’.
“We just want to educate smokers and be part of educating people on how to help others. Providing them with support, someone to listen or lean on is important,” Nickle said. “It is also legal to buy cigarettes at 18 which is around our age and breaking the habit early is what this is all about so I think it is important to start it now.”
According to American Cancer Society, GASO started in 1976 in California and the event now happens across the nation at schools, universities and community centers.
HOPE Peer Educators will be in the commuter lounge outside The Suite in the student center. HOPE Peer Educators operate the Protection Connection in the Health Center and put on multiple health promotion events throughout the year.
Julia Beatty is a HOPE Peer Educator and a senior public health major.
“Just walking around campus you can see a lot of people smoking. It’s not just tobacco, but marijuana and vaping too,” Beatty said.
“We see people smoking right outside of buildings,” Beatty said. The university has prohibited smoking within 25 feet of any university facility, which is seen being broken often.
“We want to bring more attention to those regulations and the negative health consequences that come with smoking and just reduce the number of students smoking on campus,” Beatty said.
The multiple organizations at GASO will be talking about tobacco, marijuana and vaping.
“We generally do a lot of public health promotion on campus already and we have looked at national statistics and smoking leads to lung cancer, one of the leading causes of death in the US so that’s something we really look at as a health promotion group and that’s why it means so much to us,” Beatty said.