UAA is gearing up for it’s next big event amidst the Shootout season. It is the Great Alaskan Smokeout, co-hosted by the Dean of Students Office and the Student Health and Counseling Center. It is a means of support and motivation for students and faculty alike to quit their smoking, as well as a way to show the health risks that smoking can cause for smokers and those around them.
Lexi Prunella, Alcohol, Drug & Wellness Educator for the Dean of Students Office, is one of the coordinators of the event. “We are hoping to increase awareness of the harmful health and social effects that both tobacco and marijuana use can have on our community, and to engage students and employees in meaningful discussions about tobacco and marijuana.” Similar to the Alcohol Awareness Week, the Great Alaskan Smokeout will host booths and events throughout the week to educate people about the dangers of smoking and why it would be beneficial to everyone if they stopped.
Smoking can be a tough habit to quit, and even tougher if there is no one to support the quitter. This is why this event will gather smokers and non-smokers alike to help those who really want to clean up their lives. Also there is hope that people will take their knowledge to help those who simply refuse to understand the damage they are doing to their bodies, or just don’t care how it affects those around them.
“It’s very frustrating when you are trying to walk to class, and the person in front of you is walking the same pace and smoking as they walk. The smoke drifts right into your nose and mouth, it’s disgusting.” Student Allison Thomas said.
Whether they know what they are doing or not, smokers need to give a little more consideration to those who do not smoke and do not wish to infuse their lungs with chemicals.
A representative from the American Lung Association, Randi Binion Olson, the Youth Tobacco Control Coordinator will be present to give his knowledge to anyone who is interested. He will be available on Thursday 11/18/2010 from 11am-1pm at the GASO booth in the SSB.
Ever hear of the term “quitting cold turkey?” The event will be taking it in a literal sense by having smokers trade their cigarettes and tobacco for a cold turkey sandwich to motivate those with the will to quit to give up their remaining tobacco. “We chose this method for our initial event to gauge how many people will be willing to trade in a half pack of cigarettes or can of chewing tobacco for a sandwich.” Prunella said. For those of you wondering what will happen to the traded-in tobacco, Prunella simply responded, “The tobacco collected from this “turkey trade” will be disposed of.”
“Quit Kits” will be provided for anyone who needs that extra push to keep their cravings in check. “Cravings generally do not last more than a few minutes, so the key is to keep one’s hands or mind focused on something else during the craving period.” Prunella said. Items people will be able to include in their kits include: gum, hard candy, flavored toothpicks, rubber bands, and other tactile items to keep their hands busy.
The booths will be during various times at numerous locations for everyone to have an opportunity to take a look.
Tuesday: 11-1pm at the Student Union with Betty Bang and Lexi Prunella and from
5pm-7pm at the Gorsuch Commons with Betty Bang and Karla Booth.
Wednesday: 11am-1pm at Rasmuson Hall with Betty Bang and 11am-1pm at the University Center with Lexi Prunella.
Thursday: 11am-1pm at the Social Sciences Building Lobby with Lexi Prunella.
“Additional events focusing on marijuana prevention and education are being planned for early 2011. Future programs may include larger events such as panel discussions/debates about marijuana legalization, documentary film screenings, and more.” Said Prunella regarding future events.
So if you smoke, know someone who does, or just would like some information on smoking, take a look at any of the booths or contact Lexi Prunella at the Dean of Students Office for more information.