By Ada Taylor
Metter Staff Writer
Social smoking IS smoking. This is the headliner of one of the pamphlets given out at The Great American Smokeout that took place last semester, and it is a message that needs to be told time and time again. You may ask why, but it is a little known fact that students are more likely to begin smoking during young adulthood. African American students in particular are most likely to start smoking between the ages of 18 and 25, and the majority of these students’ first time smoking will be with their friends.
These students tend to say they do not smoke, claiming that they will only use tobacco products when they are with friends. However social smoking IS smoking, and smoking a pack a day or one cigarette per week will lead to the same life-threatening diseases. In fact, the top three killers of black people in America are heart disease, cancer and stroke, all of which can be the result of smoking. It is for this reason that Tennessee State University became a No-Smoke Campus. Unfortunately, the majority of other HBCUs do not have a 100% smoke-free policy, but this was all the more reason for TSU to take the initiative.
In addition to declaring ourselves a smoke-free campus, TSU will also be participating In Tennessee’s statewide campaign “It’s Quitting Time” beginning February 22. This will help to get the message outside the borders of our campus, but our campus is still what’s key. This is why the Great American Smokeout took place last semester, an event where TSU partnered with the Metro Nashville Department of Health in order to make students more aware of the damage caused by smoking. Remarkably, they were able to get 139 people to sign pledges not to smoke and in just two hours.
Dr. Greene, principle investigator of this project, says that “more enforcement, signage and educational programs” could also help, as well as “making people more aware of smoking cessation resources.”
One way of doing this has been through Student Health Facilitators, who created an Instagram in order to connect with fellow students and share further information. You can follow them at @tsu_tobacco_free.