Great American Smokeout at Kent State

Megan Wilkinson

Students at Kent State with Colleges Against Cancer participated in the 35th annual Great American Smokeout Thursday to promote awareness about the harms of cigarette smoke.

Smoking is the primary topic in November during Lung Cancer Awareness Month because cigarette smoke is the main cause of lung cancer. Students in the group have been publicizing the Great American Smokeout by chalking thin, white lines and messages by larger facilities on campus stating major smoking laws and statistics.

Tameka Sims, Colleges Against Cancer vice president, said she believes the 2006 ban on indoor smoking was definitely an issue when it was implemented, but she said she feels more people have accepted the law since then.

Many public buildings at Kent State also require smokers to stand 20 to 25 feet from any entrances. Though the rule is posted on most doors, some smokers forget about it. Tom Lepo, freshman visual communication design major, said he sometimes ignores the 20-feet rule.

“I may not obey the rule when it’s really cold out, and I don’t want to walk far,” Lepo said.

The group wants to strictly enforce the 20-feet rule throughout Lung Cancer Awareness Month. The group chalked the thin, white lines outside buildings to indicate the 20 feet away from the building.

Alex Mott, Colleges Against Cancer president, said he wants this rule to become a habit with smokers, so they will eventually be more considerate of the health of nonsmokers.

Sims also advocates the importance of the 20-feet rule.

“So many people go in and out building entrances on campus,” Sims said. “Smokers should be able to respect all of those students’ rights to fresh, clean air once they reach a building entrance.”

Although the rule is effective toward reducing the risk of secondhand smoke in public, Colleges Against Cancer member Ally Snyder, sophomore intervention specialist major, said it is nearly impossible to stop people from smoking close to entrances.

“Unless police started ticketing smokers for standing too close to public facilities, the rule can’t really be enforced,” Snyder said.

College Against Cancer encourages Kent students to quit their smoking habits during the Great American Smokeout by making a commitment to quit. It is also a day to support family and friends who have either already quit or are considering quitting.

Mott said that the American Cancer Society helps to provide facts and tips for people struggling with smoking addictions.

“It may not be easy to just quit,” Mott said, “but learning about some of the facts and what ingredients are in a cigarette would maybe make you second guess not quitting.”

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].