The Terrapin Times

Monday, July 11, 2005

UMD To Begin Anti-Smoking Campaign

The Diamondback is reporting that the university has received a $13,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to fund a smoking cessation campaign beginning in the fall.

The campaign establishes several objectives -- ranging from handing out anti-smoking coasters at College Park bars to relocating "smoking areas" further away from doors and windows -- under the umbrella of the Terp Tobacco Advisory Committee.

According to The Diamondback's report, the efforts are aimed primarily at "social smokers," or people who don't consider themselves smokers but use tobacco when they're out drinking.

While it is far from the university's role to be students' parents, it's a nice effort to encourage students to be healthier. But if the university wants to play the parent role, it should go the whole nine yards and create campaigns against drinking, sex and too much Chipotle, all of which, of course, are bad for your health.

Perhaps before engaging in an extensive and expensive campaign to curb smoking, the Health Center should pay attention to the programs it already has in effect. Research conducted by The Terrapin Times for a separate story found that Health Center employees aren't exactly helpful when it comes to students who want to quit smoking.

Health Center employees are required to ask students who come into the center if they smoke and if they would like to quit. The Terrapin Times's reporter, a smoker, said she wanted to quit but was not provided with cessation materials as promised by the Health Center.

Perhaps instead of spending $13,000 to buy coasters for Santa Fe and Cornerstone, the Health Center should spend the money onmaterials that will actually help students who want to stop smoking accomplish that goal. Or better yet, perhaps they shouldn't have the money at all.

Look for more coverage on this issue during the Fall 2005 semester.


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