Cory William Berlekamp
At the start of the 2018 fall semester all of the ashtrays next to the doors have given way for a little sign reminding its students and faculty that University of Findlay is a smoke-free campus.
David Emsweller, Vice President of Student Affairs, sent out an update in May 2018 explaining how the Tobacco-Free Steering Committee earned a $15,500 grant from the American Cancer Society to help the campus go smokeless effective at the start of this school year. This is a victory for those that were involved in trying to make the university a healthier place.
According to Lauren Fleser, P5 pharmacy major, the proposal was written two years ago and she helped write the policy with Julia Yingling, Director of Health Services at the Casiano Health Center, last year.
“It was an initiative for the campus to go 100% tobacco free,” Fleser said. “We want to be the first generation to be tobacco free so want to see college campuses do that.”
Going to school for pharmacy and also seeing the damage that smoking has done to people that she knows is what made Fleser want to join the initiative.
“I believe that tobacco is unhealthy, there is just negative effective and no positive effects from it and I’ve always believed that,” Fleser explained. “As a pharmacy student, I think that anything to rid the United States of disease caused by tobacco would be amazing. I know you can’t get rid of these diseases 100% but anything to lessen that is really important.”
One of the board members of the initiative is a board certified specialist in quitting tobacco. Sharon Ternullo, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Findlay, teaches P4 pharmacy students about tobacco and its negative effects in her respiratory class.
“Students learn about COPD which is one of the things that smoking causes secondary to lung damage,” Ternullo said “Within that section I also teach pharmacy students how to counsel patients and motivate them to quit smoking using both over-the-counter and prescription only methods.”
According to Ternullo, smoking does not just cause lung damage but can be linked to bladder cancer, higher rates of infertility in both men and women, cardiac defects, and premature aging.
“Smoking, unfortunately, is the gift that keeps on giving,” Ternullo explained. “With women who smoke during pregnancy they are not only discovering short term problems like low weight gain but they are now finding out that as adults, children who were exposed to secondhand smoke not only have an increased rate of asthma as children but as adults they are more susceptible to COPD as well.”
Teaching students about the dangers of smoking goes beyond the classroom according to Fleser who says that one of things that the board members looked in to was helping tobacco users find avenues for quitting. Both Fleser and Ternullo urge students and faculty alike to quit using tobacco products as early as they can.
“There is counseling on the University of Findlay’s campus, there is the Casiano Health Center to find resources to help people quit smoking,” Fleser said. “We really encourage people who smoke to utilize those things we already have on campus.”