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Day of nonsmoking presents few challenges, students say

Nov. 18, 1998



Although the American Cancer Society will challenge smokers to put down their tobacco products Thursday, many smokers on the Baylor campus said the Great American Smokeout presents no challenge at all.

'I'm a smoker and had quit for about a year,' Sandra Ybarra, a San Benito junior, said. 'But, I don't think not smoking for a day would be a problem at all. I would try it.'

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 32 million smokers out of the 47 million current smokers want to quit smoking. Last year, 24 percent of U.S. smokers gave up the habit during the Great American Smokeout. Nineteen percent of those participants reported smoking less or not at all one to five day's later.

'I'm a smoker,' said Bill Field, a Los Angeles senior. 'I've thought about quitting, but I don't think I would do it just for one day.'

However, the campaign's emphasis on taking one day at a time is one of its strengths, said Carrie Rodriguez, administrative assistant at the Waco branch of the American Cancer Society.

'We just want people to try to quit smoking for a day,' Rodriguez said. 'If they can do it for a day, they can do it longer.'

Materials to guide smokers toward success during the Great American Smokeout, such as the free 'Quit Now, Here's How' quit kit, are available at the American Cancer Society's Waco office.

Because more than 80 percent of current adult smokers started before they were 18 years old, the Great American Smokeout campaign also aims to prevent children from becoming smokers.

'We're just trying to get to kids through the materials we send to schools from the office,' Rodriguez said.

Baylor's Health Education and Wellness Department will not be promoting or hosting activities for the anti-smoking campaign this year.

'We did the Great American Smokeout a couple years ago and didn't really have a big response,' said Andrea King, student outreach coordinator for the Health Education and Wellness Department. 'Not even one person came by for an anti-smoking kit. That's one of the reasons we decided not to do anything this year.'

But King said she thinks putting down tobacco products for Great American Smokeout could aid in kicking the habit.

'Quitting smoking for a day can lead to more,' she said. 'But a person has to be serious about it.'

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