SRU offers Nov. 19 Great American Smokeout program


breaking cigarette in half

Nov. 18, 2015

great american smokeout logo

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University Student Health Services will do its part to stamp out smoking, including hookah and electronic cigarette use, by offering an education program as part of the Nov. 19 Great American Smokeout.

The 12:30 p.m. program in the Smith Student Center Commuter Lounge will cover cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and hookahs, said Renee Bateman, SRU health promotion coordinator for SHS.

"There will be opportunities to participate in activities and gain a better understanding of the harmful effects of these nicotine-related products," Bateman said.

The American Cancer Society launched the Great American Smokeout in the 1970s, setting aside the third Thursday in November to encourage Americans to quit smoking.

SRU HOPE Peer Education, the student chapter of the Pennsylvania Public Health Association, and Colleges Against Cancer will provide the programming. Colleges Against Cancer will also have information available on the first floor of the Smith Student Center.

Hookahs, dissolvable snus and electronic cigarettes are increasingly becoming the first tobacco product ever tried by youth, Bateman said.

E-cigarettes are a popular new tobacco product that possess largely unknown public and individual health effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate them, meaning there are no safety checks or requirements as to what goes in them, or standards for the purity of ingredients, she said.

"While e-cigarettes do not produce smoke, they expose others to secondhand emissions," Bateman said. "Little is known about these emissions or the potential harm they may cause. People do need to understand that they can contain nicotine, which is addictive."

Bateman said the SRU Counseling Center offers support for students who want to quit.

no smoking sign

Smoking has declined on college campuses but is far from eliminated. According to the American College Health Association/National College Health Assessment:

• 73.8 percent of students have never used cigarettes;

• 15.7 percent of students have used cigarettes, but not in the last 30 days;

• 2.5 percent of students have used all 30 days;

• 70 percent of students have never used tobacco from a water pipe (hookah); and

• 23 percent of students have used tobacco from a water pipe (hookah), but not in the last 30 days.

Bateman said HOPE Peer Education works throughout the academic year to highlight health effects that may come from a wide range of nicotine related products such as e-cigarettes and hookahs, not just cigarettes. Programs such as "Health Challenge" help to educate students about tobacco/nicotine products.

Students may visit Student Health Services if they want to discuss their tobacco use with a health care professional or stop by to see the HOPE Peer Education team if they want literature on the topic.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 |