Contributed Article

Would it surprise you to learn that nearly 70% of people who currently use tobacco want to quit? But by design, tobacco products are addictive, and quitting can be difficult for many people. The tobacco industry markets its products to young people to attempt to get new clients.

They know that the young adult years (18-25) are a critical time to get this generation hooked. Adopting 100% smoke- and tobacco-free policies plays an important role in preventing youth from using tobacco, helping people quit and protecting everyone’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.

I’m a dual-enrolled student at West Hills Community College Lemoore Campus and Lemoore Middle College High School. I’m a member of the Smoke and Tobacco-free Student Advisory Committee in partnership with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) VIVA (Voices Inspiring Valley Action) Project.  Together, we have been working to ensure students, faculty, visitors, and staff are protected from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke on our college campus. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure; there are 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke, of which at least 70 are known to cause cancer.    

We can support my fellow peers trying to quit with encouraging words and celebrations to mark their success. We can also support them by advocating for real changes in our college campus community. Smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies have proven to decrease smoking and acceptability around tobacco use.  Most public universities and colleges in California have already adopted smoke- and tobacco-free policies on their campuses. 

Our college campus leaders have the power to help make West Hills Community College a safer and healthier place to learn, work and thrive by adopting policies that protect us all from the harmful effects of tobacco use. Let’s use it!   

Franz Geldore

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Volunteer