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Stony Brook Joins Great American Smokeout as Tobacco-Free Policy Shows Signs of Success

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The Student Health Advisory Council hosted a tobacco cleanup effort on November 13.
The Student Health Advisory Council hosted a tobacco cleanup effort outside the Frank Melville, Jr. Memorial Library on November 13.

Nearing its one-year anniversary of implementation, Stony Brook’s tobacco-free policy, and accompanying campaign titled “An Air of Respect,” are already making a positive impact on the campus community.

On November 13, Stony Brook’s Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) hosted a tobacco cleanup effort outside the Frank Melville, Jr. Memorial Library. Student volunteers collected and weighed a total of 2.1 pounds of tobacco-related waste, such as cigarette butts.

The event replicated previous efforts to collect and weigh tobacco waste near the same area on campus. In November 2015, about one month before the tobacco-free policy was implemented, volunteers collected 14 pounds of waste. Then in April 2016, four months after the policy was implemented and promoted on campus, the cleanup event yielded 5.75 pounds of waste.

The data SHAC students have collected implies that Stony Brook’s tobacco-free policy is succeeding by helping to gradually reduce the use of tobacco products on campus.

“I definitely saw a difference — I felt like I was struggling more to find waste at the spots that we usually clean,” said Madiha Saeed ‘18, who participated in all three recent cleanup efforts. “We found a little less waste toward the gym, which we like to see, and less toward the Union.”

When it comes to tobacco, SHAC’s ambitions mirror a primary goal of the tobacco-free policy — to provide and promote helpful resources to members of the campus community who are trying to quit using tobacco.

Volunteers found and collected only 2.1 pounds of tobacco waste, suggesting a decline in tobacco use on campus since November 2015.
Volunteers found and collected only 2.1 pounds of tobacco waste, suggesting a decline in tobacco use on campus since November 2015.

“We want to heighten awareness of tobacco cessation resources on campus. To do that, we need a general idea of how many people are still smoking, or might need the resources,” said Matya Badruddin ‘18. “There are a lot of resources available for people who would like to quit using tobacco at the Student Health Service. They work really well with people who are trying to quit smoking.”

Since the tobacco-free policy went into effect on January 1, there has been a focus on spreading awareness about the policy and providing education and support. Stony Brook encourages students, faculty and staff to take advantage of the cessation information and programs offered on campus. As we move forward, non-compliance with the policy will be treated in the same manner as with other University policies.

On Thursday, November 17, 11 am to 2 pm, Stony Brook will host informational events in tandem with the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout, which encourages smokers to create a plan to quit using tobacco.

Bryan Weiss, director of Healthier U, will be available in the Administration Building lobby to promote the tobacco-free policy, discuss smoking cessation resources and give out promotional items.

Smokers and former smokers are invited to visit Stony Brook University Hospital’s Market Place Café to encourage people to stop using tobacco by offering motivation, tips and support to others. Vouchers will be available for free 30-minute smoking cessation counseling sessions with April Plank, DPN, co-director of the Center for Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention, and attendees who turn in a pack of cigarettes and make a commitment to quit will be entered to win a free Thanksgiving turkey.

If you’re making a commitment to quit using tobacco, or have already succeeded in quitting, we encourage you to share a selfie or inspirational message using the hashtag #SBSmokeout.

Visit stonybrook.edu/tobaccofree to learn more about Stony Brook’s tobacco-free policy, and to find information about resources available to students, faculty and staff who want to stop using tobacco.

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