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Bakersfield College held one-day stand against tobacco to help raise awareness

AK Pachla, Copy Editor

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The Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative is a national program enlisting colleges and universities everywhere to join them in taking a stand for clearer air, healthier lungs and cleaner campuses.

On March 16, the 1 Day Stand came to Bakersfield College. In partnership with the BC Student Health and Wellness Center, the 1 Day Stand brought together volunteers from the American Lung Association and American Red Cross as well as representatives from the Kern County Department of Public Health for a day of information and awareness. Information included the impacts of tobacco use, not only on the tobacco users and those affected by secondhand smoke, but the impact of tobacco product waste on the environment.

“Smoking is a public health issue,” said BC public health sciences professor Sarah Baron. Baron made her stand against tobacco from behind the American Lung Association of Kern County’s information booth as a volunteer. “The big thing we wanted to do today was just raise awareness about the cigarette butts.”

According to Baron, a recent poll of cigarette smokers revealed that over three quarters of them don’t consider flicking aside their cigarette butts to be “littering”. In reality, all the toxins filtered out of the burning tobacco and additives effectively turn cigarette butts into fiberglass pellets of toxic waste. Smokers should always discard their cigarette butts in an ashtray, or extinguish them completely and throw the butts into the trash for proper disposal.

The ALA volunteers sponsored a butt cleanup competition, awarding prizes to students who collected the most cigarette butts. Over the course of the day students brought bags, buckets, and bottles of grimeys from all over the BC grounds. One butt at a time may seem insignificant, but the nature of the waste problem becomes apparent when collected into a miniature mountain.

For more information about the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative, visit their website at TobaccoFreeCampus.org. To find out more about tobacco use, or for advice and resources for quitting, contact the BC Student Health and Wellness Center at 395-4336.

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Bakersfield College held one-day stand against tobacco to help raise awareness