Smoking stays burning issue: no ifs, ands, or cigarette butts

By Sarah Stephens


With all this talk about restricting and/or banning smoking on campus, the smoking bans inside public areas, and the price of smoking increasing to a ridiculous high, I think we are beginning to realize smoking is no longer an accepted public activity.

Well, that solves it! Quitting is easier said than done considering nicotine is an addictive substance. It isn’t enough to regulate where people smoke, but to educate them on why they are still smoking after failed attempts to quit, and offer different options to help you quit “this time.”

S.T.A.R.S (Students Teaching and Advocating for Responsible Self-growth) has taken that stride. Walking to my classes on a recent Monday afternoon the smell of free hot dogs filled the air, the courtyard was extra-packed that day full of students sitting chatting, and as I went to check out those hot dogs I noticed what they were actually trying to do to me. Quit smoking! This ploy to visit their booth worked as the line of Ballpark frank lovers lined up for their chili cheese dogs. I walked to the information located at the side of their tent and began to read the literature.

Being a smoker myself (don’t tell anyone), I gazed over the pamphlets thinking, “been there, done that.” I began talking with Samantha Buentello, the president of S.T.A.R.S. She explained to me this event was actually leading to a larger one called “The Great American Smokeout.” Of course my mind first went to a scene in the movie “Dazed and Confused” involving Mathew McConaughey and a car full of wacky-tobacky, but I was soon brought back to reality. The American Cancer Society was marking the 36th Great American Smokeout on Nov. 17 by encouraging smokers to use this date to quit, or plan to quit.

“Tobacco use remains the single-largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet more than 46 million Americans still smoke. However, more than half of these smokers have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year.” ( Nov. 17 also marked UIW’s fourth annual Smokeout.

S.T.A.R.S offers events nearly weekly on campus, supporting healthy, happy, content lives. I encourage you to get involved and to support your fellow Cardinals. If you would like any information on how to quit smoking, helping those who do or any other event that S.T.A.R.S sponsors please e-mail Buentello at

The pre-Smokeout event went on without a hitch. An estimated 150 hot dogs were given out, pledge cards, peer support — you name it. I was encouraged to quit smoking and have taken the plunge myself… 4 hours 27 minutes and 43 seconds (at the time of this writing). Check in and see how I am doing.

E-mail Stephens at

Sarah Stephens


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