Students celebrate Eliminate Tobacco Use Day

Emma Gueorguieva

Students held up signs suggesting bad habits such as “Just one more episode!” and “Feed the laundry pile!” on Gregory Gym Plaza on Wednesday to promote ending tobacco use.

In honor of Eliminate Tobacco Use Day, the University’s Tobacco-Free Campus program created a Better Bad Habits lounge to promote alternative stress-relieving habits such as biting nails and binge-watching Netflix in place of smoking tobacco. The event aimed to raise awareness among students about the negative effects of tobacco use and inform them about the University’s campuswide tobacco product ban in a relaxed, informal setting, said Nosse Ovienmhada, Tobacco-Free Campus program manager.

Ovienmhada said the University has had a tobacco-free policy since April of 2012. She said the program does not aim to police or penalize students who smoke, but instead provide support for those who are addicted.

“We have an understanding that for those who smoke, vape or chew tobacco — it’s all stress based,” Ovienmhada said. “So that’s one of the things we’re highlighting in Better Bad Habits.”

 



Ovienmhada said that the program currently does not have direct data on what tobacco products students are using on campus, but the national data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 18-24 year olds using electronic nicotine delivery devices at a higher rate than traditional tobacco.

“Most of y’all have heard that A&M went vape-free, but … they actually don’t have a tobacco-free campus policy,” Ovienmhada said. “(At UT), Tobacco-Free Campus is all inclusive, meaning anything that is derived from tobacco. That includes electronic nicotine delivery devices (or) vape pens.”

English junior Azmeyda Tavarez said before stopping by the lounge, she was unaware of the specifics regarding the University’s tobacco policy.

“This is the first time that I’ve learned about tobacco use here on campus,” Tavarez said. “It’s nice to hear that (students) have a right to tell people that we’re not comfortable with them using (tobacco).”

Advertising junior Brooke Loye said the event provided some of the most thorough information about tobacco use that she has ever received on campus.

“I was really impressed when I got the email that the campus was doing something like this,” Loye said. “It’s really cool to see that there’s always events going on to promote a healthier lifestyle on campus.”