Wednesday was National Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and students all over the country participated in different non-smoking events. Respiratory therapy students from Shawnee State University (SSU) hosted a community event, which was held in partnership with Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), featuring a presentation with pig lungs and a secondhand smoke demonstration.
The goal was to reach out to the university students and share information on the harmful effects of smoking.
The Kick Butts Campaign is new to the area, but has been national for 19 years. Sharre Roffe, of SOMC Radiology, helps organize the local campaign. She has toured over half a dozen schools with props and information about smoking, Roffe had many more planned, before the snow canceled many of her appointments. She says that this first year has been a success and is glad to be able to partner with SSU respiratory students and bring awareness to the campus.
Roffe has many different educational props to show the effects of smoke on lungs, of tar on teeth and the other physical effects of direct smoking, but says that she also stresses the effects of smoke on your body from secondhand exposure.
“This program has been great and people have been very responsive,” said Roffe. “We also want to tell about secondhand smoke and the dangers along with that. Just because you don’t smoke, doesn’t mean you aren’t susceptible; if you are in a room of smoke, if your friend smokes, your spouse, or anyone, you are getting that smoke and without the benefit of a filter. We really want people to know how important it is. Since 1964, 2.4 million Americans have died from the effects of secondhand smoke.”
Roffe said that the experience has been a positive one for SOMC and she is excited to grow it in the upcoming years, especially since the program started off bigger than they even planned on.
“We initially started off with the goal of local county schools and now we are going to surrounding areas. We have people who are really passionate about smoke cessation, because cancer from smoking is the number one diagnosed cancer in this area,” Roffe said. “Anything we can do to promote a healthy lifestyle, we get excited about.”
Brandi Jones, junior, is class president of the respiratory program at SSU for the graduating year of 2015 and helped organize the event.
“As president, I take on the role of helping out with the promotion of health and awareness, as well as the consciences of smoking, not necessarily by you, but by anyone around you who smokes,” explained Jones.
Jones said she is glad to have the opportunity to reach out to the community and further tobacco education with the Kick Butts campaign.
“We are honored that SOMC wanted our help with this. As respiratory therapists in training, our goal is lung health and we want to make sure that our patients and community are healthy, when it comes to their lungs,” said Jones. “Being able to come here and partner with them and educating is a big thing for us, because that is what we want to do with our lives.”
Although the Kick Butts Campaign focuses on educating high school and elementary students about the effects of smoking, Jones finds it important to press the safety concerns smoke posses on college students as well, because they are very susceptible to being around it.
“I think it is very important, because at this stage in life, people are around a lot of peer pressure and we just want to be that opposition and give people the knowledge of what it can do to you,” said Jones.
Joseph Pratt can be contacted at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.