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Nearly 500 Turn Out for Smokeout

Forty-three AU smokers pledged to kick the habit for at least one day during the Great American Smokeout, Nov. 14. All told, 466 faculty, staff, and students turned out for the American Cancer Society event, which featured “cold turkey” sandwiches and free health screenings.

“Our goal was to not only create awareness surrounding tobacco use and secondhand smoke, but to provide relevant information for people who are ready to take the next step in becoming smoke-free,” said Amy Farr, health promotion manager. “Giving up tobacco is not an easy thing to do, and we recognize the struggles that people face.”

Of the 466 people who participated in the Smokeout, 283 pledged to remain smoke-free, while 43 vowed to give up cigarettes for at least one day. Another 97 people completed empathy pledges, giving up caffeine, chocolate, or other indulgences in order to support the smokers’ efforts.

“While nonsmokers may never experience withdrawal symptoms from giving up chocolate cake, it was the intention that really made a statement,” said Farr. “It shows that AU students, faculty, and staff really do care about the health of their fellow community members.”

Seven faculty, 118 staff, and 312 students participated in the Smokeout. The status of 29 other participants is unknown.

The Smokeout was the first of many initiatives sponsored by AU’s new faculty and staff wellness program. The following offerings are in the works for 2009:

  • a formal 90-day smoking cessation program
  • fitness classes for faculty and staff * Weight Watchers @ Work
  • Brown Bag Wellness Workshop Series * team-based pedometer challenge

For more information, call 885-3589 or visit american.edu/hr/wellness.