Nursing students promote nonsmoking at Great American Smokeout event
Dylan Haviland – General Assignment Reporter
Southern students walking into the Engleman Rotunda last week were greeted by an unusual sight. A few steps into the building, Mary Patricia Lamberti, an assistant professor in the department of nursing stood at attention in a medical uniform. Lamberti was calling students forward to the table besides her, where nursing majors were lining students up to have their blood pressure taken.
Stations were positioned throughout campus at the Adanti Student Center, Engleman Hall, Davis Hall and the Wintergreen Building to spread awareness for The Great American Smokeout. The Great American Smokeout is an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, on every third Thursday of November to give people a chance to quit smoking.
“Basically the purpose of Southern to celebrate The Great American Smokeout is to promote nonsmoking in a free smoke environment,” Monique Beason, a public health major and graduating senior at Southern. “We are trying to push towards a tobacco free campus so this was also allowing us to get the thought of students.”
Lamberti’s station in particular focused on the connection between smoking and high blood pressure. The students working for her reported the recipient’s blood pressure and told them health status of the reading.
“A good blood pressure is in the 120 to 180 range, under that is considered normal but people who smoke can have blood pressures that are five to ten millimeters of mercury higher, so in the 130 over 190 range,” said Lamberti.
A particular issue her nursing students ran into was the amount of high blood they recorded from the incoming students.
“I’ve had the nursing students practicing blood pressures and they have been surprised at how many people have higher blood pressure,” said Lamberti. The professor provided some recommendations to the students that read at higher level.
“We always ask them to get repeat checks, keep an eye on their blood pressure, don’t just accept one reading if it is high we’ll like them to get more frequent readings,” said Lamberti. “We can do that at health services they have blood pressure monitoring and follow up with primary care provider.”
For Alyssa Kagley, junior public health major at Southern, The Great American Smokeout is a personal event. Kagley volunteered through health services to work the stand in the Adanti Student Center which provided the health facts associated with smoking.
“I have a brother who started smoking as a freshman in college, a lot of his friends did it and he got into it and he got really addicted fast,” said Kagley. “I think in making Southern smoke free we can kind of avoid that and other peoples’ brothers might not have to deal with the same thing.”
The Great American Smokeout coincided with Southern’s decision to make the campus smoke free. Several stations included petitions for students to sign that would decide whether the university would consider having no tobacco of any form allowed on campus.
“We are trying to take the campus to become a tobacco free campus end of spring semester 2015, we are trying to encourage students to go online, take our survey and we are trying to get a feel about what they think about going tobacco free,” said Kayla Harris a Secretary at Health Services.
The issue of students of legal ages right to smoke tobacco on campus was brought up at the stands, inferring that smoke ban will take away all smoking zones.
“Part of me feels that there should be designated spots for them and another part of me feels that that the campus trying to go tobacco free is a healthy aspect as well and smoking is really bad for you,” said Harris. “I’m kind of in-between still honestly.”
Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas