Palomar College Health Services, in partnership with Vista Community Clinic, celebrated the National Great American Smokeout on Nov.14.
The event took place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Student Union. According to the American Cancer Society, the National Great American Smokeout is a nationwide event that encourages tobacco users to give up smoking for 24 hours to help them decide if they want to quit.
Health Services Staff Assistant Lenka Schanka and student Health Technician Scott Christopher manned the Health Services booth and talked to students about the smoking cessation resources the college offers.
Schanka mentioned that these resources included smoking help lines and counseling for students at the campus’ Health Center.
“Dr. (Hubert) Mast is our physician on staff, and you can make a consultation with him. There is no charge,” Schanka said. “He can sit down with you and talk about your lifestyle and how you can quit.”
Schanka and Christopher also handed out Quit Kits, which included a brochure of California Smokers’ Helpline, stirrers, rubber bands, lollipops, gum and toothpicks.
From the Vista Community Clinic, Prevention Specialists Kari Moya and Cynthia Flores were handing out bilingual pamphlets for those who wanted to know where to get help to quit smoking or how to avoid secondhand smoke when they live with a smoker. They also passed out fliers with information about electronic cigarettes.
Moya mentioned that her aim was to provide educational information about tobacco use and electronic cigarettes to students.
“E-cigarettes are popular among college-age kids so it’s great to be knowledgeable about what you’re putting in your body and its effects,” she said. “We provide information about healthy lifestyles free of tobacco.”
Most students, including smokers, said they thought the event was positive and benefited students.
“I think it’s convenient for people who want to change and people who think they’re too far gone,” said Ivan Gutierrez, a business management student. “Let’s say I’m addicted and I want to get out of it, they are there for that and it’s a good resource.”
Another student, Spencer Porcelli, a smoker, said that he already knows the risks of smoking and does not need to attend the event.
“I already know (smoking) is bad but I’ve made my decision,” Porcelli said.
He added, however, that the college should continue to have the event for those who wish to quit.
“Smoking is bad for you, and if people can stop doing something that’s bad for them, that’s good,” Porcelli said. “But if someone can’t quit on their own, there’s help.”
The Escondido campus also celebrated the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 21 from 11 a.m. to noon in the main lobby.
For additional information about Palomar College’s smoking cessation resources, visit Health Services or call (760) 744-1150 ext. 2380.
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