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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Guest column: Wide show of support for SHAC tobacco-free campus campaign

    The Student Health Advocacy Committee is turning heads with its campaign to transform the UA into a tobacco-free campus. On March 20, SHAC hosted its first ever UA Kick Butts Day Cleanup Competition to promote awareness of tobacco use on campus.

    In just one hour, an astounding 19,141 cigarette butts were picked up on our campus, a number that not only demonstrates how much litter our university endures, but also reveals the ineffectiveness of our designated smoking areas. There was publicity for this event, as it was advertised on table toppers and flyers throughout the Student Union Memorial Center, in the Arizona Daily Wildcat and additionally on social media websites and email listservs.

    The Tobacco-Free UA Initiative is backed by student support, which includes the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate. Additionally, according to the 2012 Health and Wellness Survey administered by UA Campus Health Service, 70.2 percent of undergraduates are in support of making the UA campus tobacco-free. The sample size for this survey was 2,406 students from a random selection of spring 2012 classes. To reach out to students on the UA Mall, we have been distributing our new “Breathe Healthy” backpack pins, along with flyers that share statistics on tobacco use, cards that provide smoking cessation resources and the link to our change.org online petition.

    To bolster this movement, SHAC works with key members of the UA Faculty Senate to address this need for a policy change. SHAC’s Tobacco-Free Initiative is supported by numerous organizations such as the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, Legacy Foundation, Arizonans Concerned about Smoking, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, as well as the Arizona Health Science Center and UA Campus Health Service. We are also in contact with our peer universities that have implemented tobacco-free policies in order to improve our efforts.

    SHAC continuously strives to make a variety of tangible health-oriented changes on campus. Our initiatives, which are student-run by our 30 active members and four interns, span from campaigning for the Tobacco-Free Initiative to implementing first-aid kits in the residence halls to hosting our annual 5k Run For Your Life event benefiting Hope Fest, which is April 6.

    While we may be small in number, we are powerful in ideas and action, and we are constantly thinking of new ways for promotion and awareness of our events.

    — Stephanie Kha is a biochemistry major and is Health and Wellness Committee Executive Chair for SHAC. She can be reached at Shac@asuaweb.org

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