» patrick pierce – ppierce3@my.apsu.edu

I’ve been surrounded by smoking all my life, yet have never partaken in smoking myself. My dad was a heavy smoker for many years, but last Christmas he offered the greatest Christmas present one could give to his family — to stop smoking entirely. He did this by free will, and with the aid of patches, managed to stop 30 years of smoking over the course of about five weeks.

It’s not easy by any means. Many people have tried to stop and succeed for a few weeks, but then something stressful occurs in their lives and start smoking again.

Many of my friends are smokers and when we hang out, to avoid being isolated from the group, I’m hit with secondhand smoke. Yes, it does bother me because I know the dangers of smoking, but to stand away from them while they are smoking is simply awkward everyone.

It’s practically impossible to avoid someone smoking. As I walk to class in the morning, I see at least five people smoking right outside the campus walls.

This is primarily because of the new legislation SGA passed last year, the Campus Smoking Policy, which prohibits “smoking in all University buildings, grounds and state-owned vehicles unless exceptions are stated in this policy.

“Regardless of whether classes are in session, this policy prohibits smoking in all buildings, grounds and state-owned vehicles 24 hours a day, year round.”

Otherwise, there would be smokers campus-wide. Though I believe this has helped those who do not smoke avoid secondhand smoke, all one has to do is leave campus to smoke, and unfortunately, that’s right outside the walls.

Tennessee is one of a few states that took the initiative a bit further. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, “beginning October 1, 2007, Tennesseans were able to breathe smoke free at numerous restaurants, hotels, and many other establishments as a result of the Tennessee Non-Smokers Protection Act. On June 11, 2007, Governor Phil Bredesen signed the Act into law, which makes it illegal to smoke in most places where people work.”

However, this still excludes all bars and some restaurants in Tennessee. Other states have full smoking bans throughout the entire state. In fact, about half of the United States either already has or plans to pass a smoke free law. Again, this is fantastic, but it’s still not enough.

This brings me to my overall point. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a campaign called “Tips From Former Smokers,” which is intended to educate smokers through stories and graphics from ex-smokers who have suffered severe and permanent health consequences because of their use of tobacco products.

According to CNN, “the campaign includes eight television ads (one in Spanish), seven radio spots in 30- and 60-second versions, seven print ads and five billboard and bus stop ads.”

The campaign is the first time the CDC has run a paid, inclusive national anti-tobacco advertising effort attempting to target avid smokers but also showing the dangers of smoking to young adults from adopting the habit.

I’ve seen some of the video ads which have been put out and each is quite scary to say the least.

Words cannot describe the feelings to see someone lose not one leg, but both due to the effects of smoking. I believe that’s the idea though, to scare smoking out of someone who currently smokes and, even more so, to stop someone who wants to start. I hope I’m not the only one who thinks it’s about time someone put out graphically provocative ads to stop smokers.

It is unfortunate campaigns have to be issued to heighten awareness. The statistics alone would make me want to quit if I smoked. I read smoking a single cigarette decreases your life by seven minutes, but according to the British Medical Journal, that number has increased to almost 11 minutes. With the average smoker consuming over 5,700 cigarettes a year, that quickly adds up. My dad started smoking when he was 20 and he’s now 52. I don’t think it’s necessary to do the math to show how proud I am of my dad for quitting. I hope the CDC’s “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign makes the difference and reaches out to smokers, young and old. Live your life; all of it. TAS