Students from the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences Invited to Meet With Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, at the Local State Health Directors Conference
From left to right: Kim Williams (American Lung Association),
Jennifer O'Donnell, Lindsay Trujillo, Dr. Regina Benjamin,
Ashley Comella, Geoff Zuckerman
The US Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin visited North Carolina for the Local State Health Directors Conference on January 26th and 27th, and our students were invited to meet her and talk about the importance of tobacco policy and prevention. Our work is funded by money from the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch, and our students were invited because of their hard work to prevent their peers from using tobacco products. Our work with tobacco policy prevents secondhand smoke exposure to almost half of the college campuses and provides the proven resources to those students, faculty and staff who are ready to quit using tobacco.
These students are a part of a group of students working with Dr. Kerry Whipple and Geoff Zuckerman to advocate for the UNC System campuses to have the ability to go 100% tobacco free. All other higher education institutions in the State have the option of being 100% tobacco free while all schools in the UNC system cannot have policies stronger than a 100 foot perimeter from buildings and doorways. While perimeter policies limit the amount of secondhand smoke exposure, there are problems that still exist. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and cost an average of $150,000 a year to clean-up on college campuses; the cost for clean-up is provided through student fees. In the past five years, UNCW has had at least two fires related to butts being discarded in brush and straw.