Release Date: 11/15/2013
University of the Ozarks will become a tobacco-free campus on Jan. 1, 2014, and to ease the University into the new policy, the Student Life and campus health offices have designed a "Change is in the Air" educational campaign. As a part of this campaign, they are encouraging everyone on campus to participate in the Great American Smokeout on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
The Great American Smokeout is a nationwide event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. On the third Thursday of every November, smokers and non-smokers in support of smokers pledge to quit (either tobacco or something else) for a day. The idea is quit for a day, then quit for life.
Sherrie Arey, dean of student life at Ozarks, said she hopes the event will help ease the campus community into the new tobacco-free policy that will take effect in less than two months.
"We've been looking at ways to offer support for those on campus that may be interested in quitting or cutting back while on campus," she explained. "November 20th is the Great American Smokeout, and we'll be allowing people to sign up as quitter for the day or as a supporter for the day."
As part of the Great American Smokeout on campus, Student Life will sponsor a healthy walk and a turkey raffle for anyone who pledges to quit for that day.
"Quitting smoking is an on-going struggle, and most people have to take it one day at a time," Arey explained. "We want everyone to understand how very difficult it is to quit smoking. It's a major life change. We want the entire campus to respectful of anyone who is taking on this challenge."
The new 100 percent tobacco-free policy applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors to the University. The policy bans the use of all types of tobacco, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, on University property.
Emma Bottorff, director of campus activities, explains that there are plenty of resources available for anyone interested in quitting tobacco. Clarissa Hardman, campus nurse, will also host a free webinar about quitting strategies on Nov. 23.
"Our campus nurse will be providing Allen Carr's webinar, 'Easy Way to Quit Smoking.' The program will begin at 4 p.m. and last until 8 p.m., and we will provide refreshments," Bottorff said. "There are also several books available from the same program in the Robson library. We have a self-paced 'Freshstart Guide' for anyone interested in quitting at their own pace. There is also the national quitline, a free resource to for anyone. 1-800- QUIT NOW."
To pledge to quit for a day as part of the Great American Smokeout or for more information about quitting smoking, please contact the Student Life Office at 479-979-1322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.