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Finding places to smoke on campus got a lot harder Jan. 1.
Julianne Yip/the Gauntlet

U of C helps students butt out

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A triple hit combination will make January a prime time for University of Calgary smokers to finally butt out.

National Non-smoking Week takes place from Jan. 21-27, and U of C Health Services is using the week and the recently passed City of Calgary bylaw banning smoking in all public places to encourage smokers to quit.

"Really, National Non-smoking Week has great timing now that the smoking bylaw has gone through," said Smoke Free U of C president Emily Joyce. "We're absolutely thrilled by the bylaw. It's great, especially for people on the verge of quitting. Now the temptation just isn't there."

Attacking these temptations and habits is essential, agreed Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission tobacco counsellor Carol Parder, adding that when dealing with addiction it is important to have smoke-free bylaws.

"Especially where it's a habit, you become triggered by certain things like going to a pub with friends," said Parder. "So, the less places available for smokers to smoke, the more likely they are to quit. And when a person is ready, there are community resources to help them."

For U of C students, such resources are only a flight of stairs away, explained Campus Wellness Centre director Debbie Bruckner.

"At the Wellness Centre, we are working towards integration of counseling, chaplaincy and health services," said Bruckner. "So, within that group, one can consult with a doctor and psychologists and access to an AADAC counselor can be arranged."

While methods of smoking cessation can include nicotine patches, inhalers, support groups and going cold turkey, Bruckner said consultation with a family physician is the best way to realize the stages involved in quitting.

"It depends on the individual and what resources they want to access," said Bruckner. "Quitting smoking is very complex and that's why I suggest everything from groups to online AADAC resources and consulting with counselors and physicians to find what suits you."

Through on-campus activities planned by SFUC, the Calgary Health Region and AADAC, National Non-smoking Week will focus on raising student awareness of the many resources available.

"Our key message is 'You are the target,'" said Joyce. "People don't realize how they are targeted by tobacco companies, but they have to take a stand. People need to know there are lots of resources available."

The week's activities will culminate in 'Weedless Wednesday,' a day centered on wellness and cessation.

"We will focus on a stress-free life," said Joyce. "Really just getting healthy and giving people information about various ways to stop smoking so that when they get stressed, they will try to quit instead."

"It can seem daunting but people have to realize it is possible to quit," said Joyce.

Students' Union vice-president operations and finance Cody Wagner said there have been no reported problems with the Black Lounge going smoke free.

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