Southern tobacco-free for two years
Alex Palmieri – News Editor
Southern has been tobacco free for over two years now. With the anniversary, Emily Rosenthal, coordinator of the Wellness Center, said there is still some work to do.
“There are around 1,300 tobacco free campuses around the country,” said Rosenthal. “Tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death in the country.”
Rosenthal said if she sees students smoking, she does not try to force them to quit. Instead, she may approach smokers and let them know about smoke-free programs that the university holds every month. Rosenthal said she will help any tobacco user that wants to quit.
“We care about tobacco related illnesses,” said Rosenthal. “There’s more than $2 billion a year in health care costs in Connecticut, just for smoke related illness.”
Because of this, Rosenthal said Southern received a grant from the Department of Public Health to help support some of the anti-smoking programs that Southern runs on a weekly to monthly basis.
“There’s free nicotine replacement for students,” said Rosenthal. “There are exchange events, where students hand us their tobacco products and we give them something in return.”
Rosenthal said that if a student hands in their tobacco products at the exchange event, the student will receive gift cards for Dunkin’ Donuts or the SCSU bookstore. She said people have turned in a lot of said products at these events, and that is part of why Southern has successfully been tobacco-free for the past two years. Though Rosenthal said she cannot stop everybody from smoking on campus, she believes Southern is taking the proper steps in the right direction. She is proud of how the university has been handling the situation.
“Our goal is not to force anyone to quit smoking or make them quit,” said Rosenthal. “Our goal is to really have a policy that promotes health and a healthy community.”
Zachary Nunnink, a junior economics major, said he thinks the university’s decision to go tobacco-free is a little foolish. He said that no matter what law is put on tobacco smoking, people will still do it, especially if they are addicted.
“You’re not going to decrease my behavior,” said Nunnik. “I mean, I can just walk off campus and do it, or I can just do it right here. I don’t think [the policy] will really change anything.”
Though Nunnink does not agree with the policy, he said he does think it is beneficial and helpful to provide programs for those who want to quit.
“That’s legitimately helpful,” said Nunnink. “I think the university will do well with a designated smoking area.”
Robert Crowdis, a junior computer science major, said he is not a smoker, but he does work around the school and thinks the university has made a good attempt. Although he said he thinks the university has done a solid job with the making the campus tobacco-free, he said it is difficult to stop everyone.
“Even teachers, employees, professors, I still see them here smoking cigarettes,” said Crowdis. “But promoting a healthier lifestyle is something I am definitely about.”
Photo Credit: Palmer Piana