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Fresh Air Advocates aim for smoke-free campus

Phase one of the Breathe Campaign has begun.

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Fresh Air Advocates aim for smoke-free campus

Christian Vannasdall a senior literature and creative writing major (left), and Yonatan Zeray, a senior creative writing major (right) smoke in front of the library Feb. 5, 2015.

Christian Vannasdall a senior literature and creative writing major (left), and Yonatan Zeray, a senior creative writing major (right) smoke in front of the library Feb. 5, 2015.

Karen Sawyer | Daily 49er

Christian Vannasdall a senior literature and creative writing major (left), and Yonatan Zeray, a senior creative writing major (right) smoke in front of the library Feb. 5, 2015.

Karen Sawyer | Daily 49er

Karen Sawyer | Daily 49er

Christian Vannasdall a senior literature and creative writing major (left), and Yonatan Zeray, a senior creative writing major (right) smoke in front of the library Feb. 5, 2015.

Erik Örström, Staff Writer

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Anti-tobacco and smoking advocates at Cal State Long Beach launched phase one of the Breathe Campaign Monday to prepare for a smoke-free campus in the Fall 2016 semester.    

The Fresh Air Advocates are a group of 15 students from CSULB’s Health Science Department that have been trained to perform campus outreach for the campaign.

Phase one includes the mounting of signs and posters on the Seventh Street marquee, campus shuttles, the University Student Union and along the lawns in order to raise awareness. In the beginning of March, Student Health Services will be offering services for free in order to help members of the campus community quit their nicotine addiction.

The pair of lungs on signs and posters throughout campus is all part of phase one of the Breathe Campaign. “The University Health Center will host information sessions in early March for students, faculty and staff,” said Michael Uhlenkamp, executive director of news and digital media. “Also available to students is one-on-one counseling, group support, over-the-counter medication including gum and patches as well as prescription medications.”

Keanan Moreno, a freshman pre-mechanical engineering student, said that he occasionally uses a vaporizer on campus, which will also be banned in the fall. He believes that stricter policies on smoking areas should be applied instead of making the entire campus smoke-free.

“If they became stricter about walking around and smoking, I think that would be OK if they still had smoking areas,” Moreno said. “For the people who actually have an addiction and need to smoke and have to be on campus all day, I think it is unfair.”

Students will be able to access these resources at Student Health Services at any time, according to Uhlenkamp. But the campaign for a smoke-free campus has raised skeptical thoughts among some students.

For more than 10 years, Claire Garrido-Ortega in the Department of Health Sciences and Natalie Whitehouse-Capuano from the Department of  Health Care Administration have tried to make the school become a smoke-free and tobacco-free community, according to the Office of Media and Government Relations. They are now in charge of the campaign.

The Breathe Campaign will cost about $118,000, and includes such activities as producing new materials, mounting signs and posters and removing ash cans. There are currently 113 ash cans spread throughout campus, and according to Uhlenkamp, the facilities management team is aiming to have them all removed before the beginning of the fall semester.    

The Fresh Air Advocates have been working on mobile applications as part of a ”toolkit” meant to provide different methods and techniques for people who are trying to quit. These applications will be available for free through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Uhlenkamp believes that it is important to allow the campus community appropriate time to come into compliance with the new policy.

“Enforcement will be phased in,” Uhlenkamp said. “Education will be the primary mode of enforcement under the first few years of the policy.”

Deandre Zaragoza, a freshman chemical engineering major, uses a vaporizer on campus and said he believes that the intention of the policy is good, but that it will not have the desired effect on the students’ smoking habits. He thinks that having designated smoking areas would be a more realistic method to apply.  

“We’re all rebellious,” Zaragoza said. “I think the focus should be to penalize people who are not in smoking areas. But you honestly cannot stop a bunch of college kids from smoking.”  

The Fresh Air Advocates have estimated that it will take three years to bring the campus into compliance with the new policy.

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