Cougars educated on tobacco dangers
The Cancer Collegiate Council rounded up multiple student organizations for Wednesday’s third annual “Great American Smokeout” to promote education about the effects of tobacco use.
“I think it is vital that people are informed about how they can help prevent disease and educate themselves about the different things that are going into their bodies or the environment,” said Meisha Brown, co-president of CCC and a senior health major.
Booths lining the walkway between Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall and the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library displayed graphic images and facts about the harmful effects of tobacco for users and those in proximity to their smoke.
Other CCC Co-President Kristin Tang said that the event’s timing is very appropriate with the buzz circulating regarding the smoking bill in the SGA, because while smoking is a personal choice, smokers are not the only ones affected by their decision.
“Of course you have the right to smoke, but you should not compromise someone else’s health,” Tang said. “You don’t have that right.”
When it comes to choosing to use tobacco, education is key. This is especially true for younger people who, the Center of Disease Control says, are more prone to pick up smoking.
Lane Watkins, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s booth representative, stressed the significance of a nicotine addiction, one that has been equated with the addictive properties of alcohol, cocaine and heroine.
“We see some guys that have had their voice boxes removed and have a hole in their throat,” Watkins said. “They still smoke through the hole because they are still addicted.”
The American Student Dental Alliance set up a display showing the graphic effects of tobacco use on oral health. The presentation featured Mr. Grossmouth, a mouth modeling the not-so-glamorous manifestations.
Alumnus and ASDA member Nazi Motahari said that seeing the oral side effects of tobacco can change the way people think, because the effects are visible.
“They actually see what’s going to happen to their teeth — they are going to turn yellow, they get gingivitis,” Motahari said. “Teeth are something everybody sees; we’re always talking and smiling.”
Alpha Epsilon Delta displayed the comparison between a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung by using real pig lungs connected to air pumps.
The healthy lung represented one of a non-smoker — it was soft and pink and it inflated completely. The other represented the lung of someone smoking a pack a day for 20 years, which was much different — it was black and only partially inflated.
“It was phenomenal to see them (elementary and middle schoolers) so interested in the pig lungs,” Brown said. “They were really concerned about what kind of stuff is inside the cigarette, why it is so bad and what it does to your lungs when you take it in.”
Tang wants to make sure that people know how to care for themselves and others by providing people with proper information.
“At CCC we believe that health education can save lives,” Tang said.