“There are hundreds of reasons to quit… what’s yours?” was the slogan for last week’s National Non-Smoking Week. But the slogan, and the event in general, doesn’t seem to have registered with very many people on Concordia’s campuses.
“I didn’t know about this non-smoking week,” said Concordia biochemistry student Chris Casimir, having a smoke before a meeting. Casimir, who has been smoking for the last six years, said that stress is a major reason why he smokes. He also said that his “mental capacities,” specifically concentration, go up with nicotine and that smoking makes him feel better.
“I did notice that my cardio went down a bit though,” admitted Casimir. “But you know, it’s hard to get over stress with everything going on.”
This national event, which ran from Jan. 16 to Jan. 22, was established in 1977 by the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control in order educate and prevent people from smoking. It also offers assistance to people trying to quit. A few scattered events happened throughout the city, but nothing seemed to be taking place at Concordia.
“For us, every week is the non-smoking week,” said Concordia health promotion specialist Owen Moran, adding that the Concordia’s health services always offers professional help to smokers who want to quit.
“Most people manage to quit by themselves,” he said. “But there certainly is help on the campus.” The health care services provide monthly newsletters called Health Notes and a professional guide to quitting smoking, which are available around both campuses.
The Concordia Student Union did not advertise the non-smoking week or organize any related events. Morgan Pudwell, the CSU’s vice-president of sustainability and promotions, said the CSU was too busy with the winter orientation that took place last week.
Nearly one out of five Quebecers smoke according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced in December that bigger warning labels would soon appear on cigarette packs, covering at least 75 per cent of the pack instead of the current 50 per cent.
At an Ultramar gas station near Loyola Campus, an employee who wishes to remain anonymous said they had not seen “any change at all” to cigarette packages as of yet. As for Non-Smoking week, the employee said, “a smoker smokes, no matter which week.”