Leave the Pack Behind
By Jennifer O'Brien
Thirty-three percent of Ontario college students smoke and many have their first cigarette when they start their post-secondary education. This habit impacts a student’s health beyond their years at college and can have life threatening effects. Luckily Leave the Pack Behind (LTPB) can help!
LTPB has been extremely successful in its efforts to make 'not smoking' the norm on university and college campuses. Also, in recognition of this success, LTPB has acquired official standing as a provincial best practice for tobacco control in the young adult population. Since the program’s initial start in 2000 it has expanded from 6 to 51 geographically-diverse universities and colleges including large urban campuses, small town universities, commuter schools, residential schools, high profile institutions and smaller colleges.
Niagara College has LTPB teams at both the Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake Campuses. The program seamlessly integrates cessation, protection, prevention and industry denormalization activities to:
- Promote smoking cessation among occasional and regular smokers
- Protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke
- Expose tobacco industry tactics that keep people hooked on its deadly products
LTPB’s team members at Niagara College provide students with self-help smoking cessation interventions in combination with other resources to students on campus.
At a weekly booth display, the teams are prepared with information about tobacco and smoking cessation that cater to the needs and interests of the student population. Various campaigns are run throughout the year to keep all students interested and actively involved with the program. The team uses a carbon monoxide (CO) monitor to assist in educating on the effects of first and second hand smoke inhalation. Throughout walkabouts the team visits various designated and non-designated smoking areas across the campus to speak to individual smokers and non-smokers about the current policy on campus and provide resources for those that may be ready to quit.
Each year LTPB implements their annual “would u rather… contest.” This year the contest runs from January 23rd until March 5th, 2012. All registered students in a publically funded post-secondary institution in Ontario are eligible for the contest and can register in one of four categories. Quit for good is for regular smokers who plan to quit for the entire duration of the contest, keep the count allows students to cut back on their smoking by 50%, party without the smoke attempts to break the association between tobacco and alcohol having students cut out smoking when drinking, and don’t start and win is for non-smokers or ex-smokers challenging them to stay smoke free. Students can register at ltpb.org/contest.php.
Visit leavethepackbehind.org to see what other information LTPB has for you!