SIU to participate in national stand against smoking

( file photo illustration)

By Shannon Allen

The university is participating in a national effort to curb tobacco use through a one-day awareness campaign aligned with national not-for-profit organizations and colleges.

Events are scheduled to take place in coordination with the American Cancer Society’s Great American SmokeOut, which aims to deter smoking among students and promote awareness of the health risks associated with it. The Wellness Center and the dental hygiene program are teaming up to celebrate the national “1 Day Stand Against Tobacco” campaign at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Student Center.

The organizations will host a “Fresh Breath Bar” where they hand out toothbrushes, toothpaste and other oral care products, according to Morgan Reid, president of SIU’s chapter of the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association.


Reid, a senior from Coulterville studying dental hygiene, and others from her program will encourage people to quit smoking and provide them with resources to do so.

“We will be providing access to online tobacco cessation resources and everyone has access to our clinic on campus where we can help them further with tobacco intervention methods,” Reid said.

In July 2015, the state passed the Smoke-Free Campus Act, which bans tobacco use at all Illinois public colleges and universities. Nationally, similar bans are in place at more than 1,700 colleges and universities, including New York University, Tulane University and University of Florida, according to the not-for-profit organization Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.

Betty Contreras, a junior from Chicago studying dental hygiene, said she is constantly warning patients, friends and family members about the harmful effects of smoking.

“People really don’t understand how bad smoking is, not just for your oral health, but your overall general health,” Contreras said. “The only time smokers really listen and consider smoking is if their health is declining.”

Staff writer Shannon Allen can be reached at 618-536-3326, [email protected] or on Twitter @ShannonAllen_DE.

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