BY KENDRELL PINKSTON
SPECIAL TO THE DAYTONA TIMES
Smoking? Who smokes, I sure don’t. Cigarettes are just not what today’s generation is raving about. On popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, it is rare to see someone post a picture or tweet about smoking a cigarette.
I have never seen a Facebook status saying I need a pack of cigarettes. In most cases, they don’t make you look like the cool kid, instead they just damage your character amongst peers.
Many youth know and understand the complications of tobacco related products. They have either seen, heard or know of someone who has had a traumatic or fatal experience due to tobacco products. College students around the state are making an initiative to cut the use of tobacco products and make their institution smoke free.
B-CU on board
Bethune-Cookman University students are on board with efforts to promote the dangers of smoking. Many of the Greek organizations on Cookman’s campus are working to help raise awareness of the dangers of using tobacco related products.
Such organizations include Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and others who are working to promote smoke-free sections of campus.
“We are partnering with the Volusia County Health Department to offer painted yard signs with the Greek organization names on them to raise awareness about the importance of not smoking,” said Bethune-Cookman University senior and National Pan Hellenic Council president Kalen McCallum.
“Smoking is definitely detrimental to your health,” said McCallum. “I’ve watched the devastating health impacts of tobacco and encouraged my mother to stop smoking.”
According to the Florida Department of Health, there are 88 people who die each day in the state of Florida from tobacco-related illnesses. Along with death, tobacco products can cause serious illness.
Some of those diseases include lung cancer, ischemic heart disease and strokes.
Rakinya Hinson of the Volusia County Health Department is a tobacco prevention specialist. She knows firsthand the effects of tobacco. She encounters the harm that the community is faced with because of tobacco usage.
“If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, work on quitting,’’ said Hinson. “I enjoy working with young people and educating them to the dangers of tobacco so they can make well-informed decisions of not using tobacco products.”
Smoking cigarettes is not the cool thing to do anymore. However many of the youth are still influenced by tobacco-related products like candy flavored tobacco smoke and chews.
There are services to help and prevent usage. Whether it’s a friend, relative or co-worker, there is someone who can use this service. There are many programs that are offered to help quit the use of tobacco.
There is the Florida Quit Line. Through the Florida Quit Line, there are classes offered for the stop of tobacco usage.
“Smoking cigarettes is not on the radar for me and my friends. Many people now don’t even look at cigarettes and other tobacco products,” said Bethune-Cookman University senior Dawnn Williams from Miami. “We are very well aware of the many problems they cause. No thanks.”
According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. However, more than 45 million Americans still smoke cigarettes.
More than half of these smokers have attempted to quit at least one day in the past year. As of 2010, there also were 13.2 million cigar smokers in the U.S. and 2.2 million who smoke tobacco in pipes.
Kendrell Pinkston is a senior majoring in mass communications at Bethune-Cookman University. He is a Public Information intern at the Volusia County Health Department.