Temple looks to stamp out smoking
The University is joining with the Philadelphia and state health departments in a new initiative
The Temple Health Empowerment Office prevention campaign is being accompanied by a “Do You!” slogan, a slang phrase that encourages students to be themselves and act in their own best interests.
Using funds awarded by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Temple Health Empowerment Office is overseeing a three-pronged program to address tobacco use on campus.
The $29,000 grant enables the launch of the College Tobacco Pilot Project, which focuses on tobacco use policy, prevention and cessation. Temple is the only Philadelphia-area university chosen for the program.
“We are committed to finding new ways to make the University a healthier place to live and learn,” said project coordinator and THEO director Michael McNeil. “Plus, by looking at these issues now, we’re ahead of the curve rather than reacting to any change that might come out of Harrisburg.”
Aside from the practical benefits of CTPP, the program provides learning experiences for students, with a student leader assigned to each arm of the project. The student population is also well-represented on various CTPP committees.
“It is important to have students participate in this project, because there will be a greater impact if the message comes from peers of the population that this project is reaching out to, rather than a parental or authoritative figure,” said Shawnisha Thomas, a sophomore biology major who is CTPP’s cessation advocate. “We are not only telling [students] the dangers of tobacco use and that they should make a change, but we are giving them ideas that they can use to substitute for the need or urge to use tobacco.”
Activity is well under way in each CTPP segment. A committee of students, faculty and staff is currently examining existing tobacco use policy and will pass on suggestions for consideration by the administration by March. McNeil anticipates substantial recommendations to the current policy.
“One of the key gaps in the present policy is enforcement,” he said. “The administration issued new smoking guidelines, but the mechanism for enforcement of that policy is unclear.”
The current policy, announced in January, bans smoking within 25 feet of the main entrances of University buildings.
McNeil noted that the policy committee includes smokers so as to be sensitive to their needs as well.
“We don’t want punitive measures,” he said. “We’ll shape our policy based on input from other universities and the recommendations of groups like the American College Health Association. We want to be able to respect everyone’s health without creating undue burdens on a small segment of the campus population.”
In addition, the policy committee will likely address these issues: regulation of tobacco sales on campus; formalizing prevention and cessation methods into policy; and clarifying Temple’s role in monitoring smoking in buildings on or near campus that are not University-owned.
Much of the energy in cessation centers on promoting existing programs in THEO that encourage students to quit using tobacco. THEO offers free, one-on-one support by trained staff to students who are considering quitting. It also provides access to and information about pharmacotherapy options, including starter packs of nicotine gum.
Finally, the cessation committee is working to drive student traffic to THEO by enabling professionals in Tuttleman Counseling Services and Student Health Services to refer smokers who want to quit.
Prevention tactics hinge on a startling figure uncovered by the latest research on campus by the CORE Institute, a national college survey agency. CORE figures show that 74 percent of Temple students don’t use tobacco, a ratio that CTPP leaders hope will correct the misperception that a majority of students smoke.
“The perception is, of course, that far more students use tobacco because smokers are so visible,” McNeil said. “They’re what we see when we exit buildings, so it looks like everyone is doing it. We want to boost awareness that the majority of our students don’t use tobacco.”
The prevention campaign will be accompanied by a “Do You!” slogan, a slang phrase that encourages students to be themselves and act in their own best interests. T-shirts and other paraphernalia with the slogan will be distributed on campus.
- By Ted Boscia
Great American Smoke Out
Nov. 18, 2004
|• Tobacco Trade-In
11 a.m.–2 p.m., Bell Tower (rain location: lobby of The Tuttleman Learning Center).
Turn in a pack of cigarettes and receive a T-shirt and be entered to win a DVD player.
Also, stop by the table to learn more about quitting tobacco for you or someone you know. For more information, call THEO at 204-7509.
• Tobacco Trade-In
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. and 5–7pm, IBC Student Recreation Center.
Turn in a pack of cigarettes and receive free goodies and be entered to win a DVD player. Also, stop by the table to learn more about quitting tobacco for you or someone you know. For more information, call the IBC at 204-2200.
11 a.m.–2 p.m., near the Bell Tower (rain location: lobby of The Tuttleman Learning Center).
Look for Temple Health Empowerment Office peer health educators and volunteers giving out Tobacco Quit Kits and other fun goodies. Also, take our Tobacco Trivia Challenge and win great free stuff. For more information, call THEO at 204-7509.
• Bingo Night
8 p.m., Great Court, Mitten Hall.
Come socialize and play bingo in a great smoke-free environment. Sponsored by the Campus Alcohol and Substance Awareness program, THEO, ISA and Temple Student Government.
For more information, call CASA at 204-7276.
• Quit Help
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m., THEO office, Mitten Hall, lower level.
Students can stop in the THEO office to pick up materials and gain support for smoking cessation. Free support for quitting tobacco is available to all Temple students on a year-round basis. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 204-7509 for more information or to make an appointment.