Federal Courts have recently forced big tobacco companies to run a 52-week ad campaign on the health dangers of cigarettes and secondhand smoke. Studies are released almost every year, detailing how tobacco correlates to cancer and other health issues.
But what is St. John’s doing to further this conversation on campus?
The University has ensured student safety in many ways, but we lack programs and organizations that bring awareness to the dangers of tobacco. Students who may be struggling with a tobacco addiction do not have significant resources to help them, and we have yet to see programs or student organizations advocate for an entirely smoke-free campus.
Perhaps the solution may be a student wellness center intervention. However, it may be even more beneficial to have a student organization or program to educate St. John’s students. It can be as simple as hosting events that discuss the dangerous effects of smoking and secondhand smoke in particular. There should also be measures to help those students who struggle with smoking addiction the ability to quit.
For the most part, students are already aware that cigarettes are bad.
But the commercials and the statistics will only go so far. They need to have a real reason to kick the habit.
Sometimes the only way to understand a situation is to see it for yourself. My mother has oral and lung cancer, and the doctors are almost certain that it was caused by secondhand smoke.
I have seen the side effects and health issues that are caused by cigarettes. This has made me hyper-aware of secondhand smoke everywhere I go.
If I am walking past the St. John’s Hall’s main entrance and see students smoking, I will walk around to the other entrance just so I do not have to walk near the smoke.
This issue extends not only to our campus, but also our surrounding locations. New York City has made significant steps to prevent people from having to deal with secondhand smoke. Certain areas are smoke-free zones and other places mandate that people can smoke only in a particular section. Yet we may still be exposed to secondhand smoke when we walk through the city.
The goal of an organization, an awareness campaign or program to take this on would be to ultimately turn SJU into a smoke-free campus.
It would be an extensive process, but it would be another step to ensure students’ safety and well-being.