Student group urges people to quit smoking cold turkey

Thursday was the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout.

Jamie VanGeest

With promises of health, wealth and a cold turkey sandwich, University students were encouraged to quit smoking Thursday in front of Coffman Union.

In 16-degree weather, members of Colleges Against Cancer handed out pamphlets, suckers and sandwiches to urge students to “quit cold turkey” for a day as part of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout.

According to the American Cancer Society, 87 percent of all lung cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoking. Lung cancer is the most preventable cause of death in the United States, it reported.

In Minnesota, more than 2,620 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year and 2,480 people die from it, the American Cancer Society said.

According to the 2005 Core Alcohol and Drug Survey by Boynton Health Service, 29.7 percent of students in the Twin Cities use tobacco.

“Were not here to force people into quitting,” said Laura Hammer, a third year nutrition student and president of Colleges Against Cancer.

Hammer said she wants people to be informed about the on-campus resources to help people stop smoking as well as the benefits of quitting.

Colleges Against Cancer is a group run by the American Cancer Society. There are university chapters of the organization across the country.

The University’s branch, which started last spring, has approximately 30 members, including four cancer survivors.

Jenna Langer, publicity chairwoman for the club and a sophomore mass communications student, is a cancer survivor.

She had osteosarcoma, or cancer of the bone. Even though her cancer wasn’t as preventable as lung cancer is, Langer knows the pains of cancer firsthand.

Andres Raud, a senior veterinary student, traded his cigarettes for a Jimmy John’s sandwich Thursday because “smoking is bad for you” and because he was hungry.

Raud said he smokes only occasionally, but Hammer has been encouraging him to quit.

A sign on a donated 2006 silver Jeep Cherokee symbolized how much money a smoker could save if they quit.

The Student Network for Abuse Prevention was also present at the event and provided information about programs at Boynton to help smokers quit.

Students who agreed to quit smoking for the day, or supported a friend who decided to quit, were entered into a drawing for a Chipotle gift card, or a massage at Boynton Health Service, said Devi Chettiar, a health and wellness junior.