The Great American Smokeout offers to help students quit smoking

Carolyn DePew

Rohith Nandagiri

Staff Writers

Today, in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout, the University of Houston Wellness Center is sponsoring seminars aimed at educating people on smoking and its side-effects. Throughout the afternoon today, a series of programs will be offered to educate students on the ramifications of smoking.

The Great American Smokeout is a nationwide attempt to motivate people to stop smoking for one day. The intent is to have people understand that they are not dependent on cigarettes.

Films, seminars and quitting tips will be offered today in the UC Underground. Programs begin at 11 a.m., 12 noon and 1 and 5 p.m.

There will also be tables and booths set up throughout the UC where pamphlets containing new information on smoking will be available.

Chris Kerr, the program manager of the Wellness Center, believes that this year's event will be for both students who smoke and students who have thought about trying it. "Our goal is to raise awareness about the problems of smoking."

Kerr said that whether you are already considering quitting or whether quitting is just a passing thought, today is a good day to begin the process. "Whatever stage (students) are in, today is the day they might want to quit."

Students across campus are pondering whether or not they should try to quit. The Wellness Center expects a good turnout for the Smokeout.

"I've always wanted to quit smoking," said freshman university studies division major Dan Belenkov. "I'm going to try to do it for the Smokeout. It's really a test of my will to see if I can not smoke with a pack of cigarettes in my pocket. Besides, my lungs could use the break."

"I'm starting an exercise regime for my health," said senior business major Joe Breda, "so, yeah, I'll stop. Anything to give me an edge."

"Sure, I'll quit smoking," said freshman finance major Abby Di Paolo. "I don't have any cigarettes anyway. My boyfriend already smoked them all."

Still, kicking the habit is harder than it sounds, even for just one day. Some students just don't think they can, and some just don't care.

"I'm not going to stop smoking," said sophomore RTV major Kevin Kelleher.

"By the time they diagnose me with cancer, they should have a cure. Besides, we're all dying anyway."

"I'm not going to quit smoking on Nov. 20 because I'm addicted," said freshman university studies division major Shola Kehinde.

Freshman biology major Laurie Blackmur said that there is a better solution than the Great American Smokeout to the smoking problem on campus.

She said, "If it was legal for all college students to drink (alcohol), we would not have the smoking problem we have on campuses today."

Di Paolo agreed. "I wouldn't be able to stand, but I wouldn't be smoking."

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