UC Davis Today: Moving toward a smoke-free campus

Male student pointing while two female students

Moving toward a smoke-free campus

With hearts full of memories of loved ones lost to cancer, about 50 UC Davis students shared messages of health and hope with the campus community on the day of the national Great American Smokeout.

Standing between the Memorial Union and the Quad, students wore ash-colored T-shirts that said “Breathe Free.” And they held up signs that shared facts about smoking, highlighted the policy that on Jan. 1 will ban smoking and tobacco use even outdoors at UC Davis, and pointed to campus resources to help people quit smoking.

“We’re taking a positive approach to quitting,” said Sabreen Aulakh, a fourth-year microbiology student from San Jose who helped organize the event. For her, the fight against all kinds of cancer has been personal since a younger cousin was diagnosed with brain cancer.

“The smoke-free policy at UC Davis is a really big step in preventing illness in the future,” said Aulakh, who plans to attend medical school and work to prevent infectious diseases.

Colleges Against Cancer/Relay for Life joined with three other student groups — the Public Health Club, Delta Epsilon Mu and the Davis Heart Association — to hold the event.

Vince Shea, co-president of Colleges Against Cancer/Relay for Life, handed out T-shirts and organized participants. He said that, like him, about half of his group’s members have lost a family member or friend to cancer.

“This is about the health and wellness of our campus,” said the fourth-year biology major from Los Altos. “We want to encourage people in prevention.”

Smoking is already prohibited in UC Davis-owned and leased buildings. To improve the health of the campus community and create a cleaner environment, the new policy will prohibit smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products and the use of unregulated nicotine products in outdoor spaces.

For those who choose to quit smoking, the university is providing cessation resources including individual counseling and free nicotine replacement therapy for students and free cessation programs for employees.

Learn more at Breathe Free UC Davis.

On a related note, check out "Sustainable Design" students' ideas for reusing the campus's concrete ashtrays. Professor Ann Savageau assigned the project last spring quarter.

Vince Shea, co-president of Colleges Against Cancer/Relay for Life, helps organize 50 fellow students around the Memorial Union to promote the Great American Smokeout and highlight UC Davis' new policy that will make even its outdoor facilities smoke- and tobacco-free beginning Jan. 1. Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo

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