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November 5, 2012

37th Great American Smokeout to build student awareness

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – To build upon past efforts to create a healthy and smoke-free campus, Purdue University students and campus organizations will collaborate to recognize the 37th annual Great American Smokeout on Nov. 15.

Annual smokeouts first began in the 1970s when people who smoked were asked to abstain for a day and donate to a favorite charity the money they would have spent on cigarettes.

The number of Purdue students who smoke has been declining in recent years. Additionally, the university enacted a policy making campus smoke-free (except for designated smoking areas) in July 2010. According to data from a 2012 survey conducted by the Student Wellness Office, 9.5 percent of student respondents had smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days. Of those who reported smoking, 18.9 percent smoked daily, and 43.9 percent of the smokers said they were ready to quit in the next 30 days.

This year's Great American Smokeout aims to support those smokers who are ready to quit and to provide information about the dangers of smoking so that fewer students begin smoking while at Purdue. Purdue's Academy of Student Pharmacists, Colleges Against Cancer and Student Wellness Office are partnering for the initiative.

From 4-8 p.m. Nov. 15, student volunteers will staff tables in front of the Colby Fitness Center in the newly renovated France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center (CoRec). There will be informational booths, free blood pressure screenings, giveaways and trivia games.

Students and community members who participate in the Great American Smokeout's interactive features receive a free "cold turkey" sandwich. Smokers looking to quit will be directed to the pharmacy building where X-packs and one-on-one cessation consultations will be offered.

"Given the CoRec's emphasis on wellness, it is fitting to host this year's smokeout in the new building," said Miriam Brown, Purdue's alcohol, tobacco and other drug education coordinator.

For more information about Purdue's X-pack tobacco cessation program, call 765-494-WELL or the Purdue Pharmacy at 765-494-1374.

Source: Miriam Brown, 708-925-5038, brown742@purdue.edu