Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Kwantlen kicks its smoking habit

Kwantlen ChronicleOnline Edition: October 13, 2009

Dozens of cigarettes were broken in half to symbolize breaking bad habits at the Surrey campus. (Jacob Zinn)

Kwantlen students made the air a little cleaner on Thursday by putting out cigarettes at the second annual Campus Smoke-Out event.

Promoted by the Kwantlen Wellness Centre, the event was led by Nursing 4141 students at the Surrey and Richmond campuses as part of their practicum experience. Kwantlen was one of nine Lower Mainland post-secondary institutions participating.

“It’s part of our change project,” said fourth-year nursing student Kim Sahota. “We’re working on the smoke-free campus initiative for Kwantlen.”

Booths were lined with anti-smoking pamphlets and awareness information, as well as a demonstration of the difference between a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung.

Smokers were encouraged to keep from lighting up on school grounds for the day. Smoking is prohibited within 7.5 metres of entrances, so nursing students also drew chalk lines leading from buildings to properly illustrate the distance.

The students took donations and collected cigarettes in a jar. For every cigarette, a $1.50 donation went to the BC Lung Association.

“If we can get people to actually empty out their pockets and put their cigarettes in [the jar], that could be a good start to stop them from smoking,” said Dr. Balbir Gurm, a nursing teacher at Kwantlen for 18 years.

“For students, you’ve got up to $500 worth [of smoking cessation products] in your health care package. That’s a great incentive which people don’t know about.”

By midday, the students had collected about 30 cigarettes at Surrey, with a goal of 100. The students at Richmond had a jar filled to the top by the end of the event at 3 p.m.

“I don’t know if it’s because all our health programs are here,” said Gurm, “but [the Surrey campus] seems to be the campus that has the least smokers to start with.”



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