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Quit Smoking, if Only for the Day
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. Nov. 7, 2016 – By quitting—even for one day—smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.
Community College of Philadelphia, which will go smoke-free on Jan. 1, 2017, is setting the stage by hosting the Great American Smokeout from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 in the Bonnell Building lobby, located on 17th Street, between Spring Garden and Callowhill streets.
A turkey mascot will be on hand for photos with students and faculty, and information and cessation materials will be available to those who are thinking about kicking the habit – even if just for the day. The American Heart Association and Philadelphia Department of Health are partnering on the event, as they have been working closely with the College as it prepares its Main Campus and three regional centers to go smoke-free.
Dr. Kristy Shuda McGuire, an associate professor of Biology, has been a leader of the smoke-free movement since its beginning six years ago. As a pregnant faculty member, she said she constantly had to put up with second-hand smoke as she walked into her building. She and others began to push for tighter restrictions for health and career reasons.
More and more hospitals and medical businesses in many states are adopting strict policies against smoking as a way to increase worker productivity, reduce health care costs and encourage healthier living. Some organizations go as far prohibiting smokers from applying for jobs. As colleges prepare and educate students for the local workforce, the issue resonates with faculty and staff.
“The College needs to be preparing its Nursing and Allied Health students for employment at area hospitals that no longer hire smokers, including Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Pennsylvania,” McGuire said. “That’s one reason why we felt it was really important to implement this policy.”
The College’s students had an important role to play in gathering information for the implementation of the policy. A survey conducted in 2015 by students in Associate Professor Rick Frei’s Descriptive Research Methods in Psychology class examined student attitudes about smoking behavior, reasons for smoking, and attempts to quit. The survey found that students who smoke tend to have lower grade point averages and suffer from stress and depression. Smoking is also an expensive habit. Additionally, surveyed students reported that they spent as much as $24 a week for tobacco products.
With more than 28,000 students, Community College of Philadelphia will become the largest student population to go smoke-free in Philadelphia. The University of Pennsylvania, with 24,876 students, went smoke-free last September. Currently, approximately 1,500 higher education institutions in the United States have gone smoke- or tobacco-free, including 330 community colleges.
The American Heart Association and Philadelphia Department of Health will provide awareness activities for the Great American Smokeout, including carbon monoxide testing, and a “tar jar,” that graphically demonstrating the amount of tar in tobacco smoke. The College will also sponsor a Quest to be Smoke Free scavenger hunt, awarding a $25 gift card to the first 15 students who finish. Students will also pledge to take a 30-day, smoke-free challenge.
Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 34,000 students annually and offers day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as classes online. Visit the College at www.ccp.edu. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.