Trading a full or nearly full pack of cigarettes for a visor didn’t sound like a bad deal for students earlier this week at the Rock as STRIKE [Student Tobacco Reform Initiative Knowledge for Eternity] presented Kick Butts Day.
Caitlyn Fantauzzi, student coordinator for STRIKE, describes the event as an opportunistic step for those who want to quit smoking.
“The purpose of the trade-in is to promote smoking cessation on campus and make students aware of the people on campus that want to help them quit smoking to better their health,” Fantauzzi said.
STRIKE is a project funded by the Florida Department of Health that provides free tobacco cessation aides and educational materials as well as advocacy for students.
STRIKE is the student organization component of the project that is run out of the Wellness Center by students.
Janet Tiberian, assistant director for Student Wellness, along with former SG president Mike Johnston, used the STRIKE grant to push the smoking barrier legislation through SG.
Tiberian explains how STRIKE continues to work now.
“STRIKE members work on outreach projects to increase awareness of the harmful effects of smoking and cessation resources on campus,” she said. “Such projects include the Great American Smoke-Out and Kick Butts Day.”
By the end of the event, 12 packs of cigarettes were collected.
“I think it’s great knowing that peers put on activities to help others while also being passionate about it,” Tim Williamson, junior, said.
Williamson began smoking in his junior year in high school and had recently quit, but still had packs of cigarettes lying around.
He saw the event as a good opportunity to get rid of his habit, and any memory of it, for good.
Williamson choose to quit smoking because he felt health issues were more important than smoking.
“You don’t want to quit something that you enjoy, but it’s better now than later,” Williamson said.
Fantauzzi emphasized STRIKE’s commitment to make themselves accessible to students.
“Cigarette smoking is a problem anywhere in the world. A lot of my friends smoke, so I am not condemning them in any way, but smokers can add years to their lives by quitting smoking,” Fantauzzi said. “STRIKE is trying to make a difference in the lives of the students here at UM because they are near and dear to us.”
For more information about STRIKE, contact the Wellness Center at 305-284-6524 or e-mail CanesHealthPromo@yahoo.com.
Paul Fajardo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.