Each year; smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides, and fires combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So when Ronald T. Rozett, M.D., M.P.H., the current director, Master of Health Administration Program, came to Quinnipiac in 2000, he was shocked. He saw that the University “is very typical of most colleges” in that “more than 30 percent of the college students smoke at least occasionally.”
He found the reality that nearly a third of the students smoked “staggering because of all the years we have learned how lethal smoking is, students are still attracted to smoking. It is depressing.” He explained that the Quinnipiac fit perfectly into the national average of about a third of the student body are smokers, “from my observations of smoking on campus, and from informal surveys done by several student groups, the national data applies to Quinnipiac students,” he said.
He attributes the continued smoking to the tobacco industry for “[working] hard to snare young people.” He said that “if you start smoking before age 21, chances are you will smoke for at least twenty years. Because the federal government restricted the industry from focusing on young people, he said, “virtually all of the tobacco industry’s efforts are focused in magazines read by young men and women, particularly young women.”
Dr. Rozett also pointed to the tobacco industry’s alternate major advertising location – the convenience store. He said that the average teen-ager visits the location three times a week giving the tobacco industry the idea of making it a major source of advertising smoking. He said to observe the cigarette display behind the sales counter with advertisements on both sides. “The tobacco industry continues to seduce teen-agers into smoking,” he said, “nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known.”
To counter popular belief, Dr. Rozett said “once you have started to smoke, even casually, it is very difficult to stop, despite what most people think.” He said that most young people believe that they can stop smoking before it gets too bad, an idea that is wrong. He said that two packs of cigarettes a day for ten years makes the smoker ten times as likely to develop cancer as well as increasing the chances of having a heart attack by six to ten percent after just a few more years.
To get the word out of the dangers of smoking, he formed QUit – Quinnipiac’s Smoking Cessation Committee. After working with two marketing classes, he discovered that a website is the best means for getting valuable smoking-related information to the student body. The committee then got together with two classes – an e-commerce class to put together the information and a computer science class to put the page together. It took one semester to complete.
He said that the site “is there, is available but not obvious.” The site will be continuously updated. New articles will be posted and old articles will be deleted regularly. “We’ll try to keep it fresh,” he explained.
The site, which is located at http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x7805.xml or navigating through the Student Lifeto the Student Health Servicesto theQUit – Quinnipiac’s Smoking Cessation Committee web page. On it, there are twelve sections dedicated to various aspects of smoking. The site is very detailed and informative. It has links to many reputable sources that provide a wide array of information that a smoker may wish to view to be persuaded to quit smoking or that a non-smoker may wish to view while deciding whether to start smoking or not.
For the student that wishes to quit smoking, the QUit web site offers eighteen various resources to aid in that difficult process. There is also information on women and pregnancy, second hand smoking, smoking facts, cigar information smoking legal issues as well as much more.
If any students have any information, Dr. Rozett encourages smokers and non-smokers alike to contact him via e-mail at [email protected] or by telephone at 203-582-8664. The website is located at http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x7805.xml.