WIU students look to "kick butts" in anti-smoking event - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

WIU students look to "kick butts" in anti-smoking event

(Photos courtesy of Western Illinois University) (Photos courtesy of Western Illinois University)

By the end of this sentence, one person will die due to the use of tobacco or second hand smoke.

Shocking statistics like that prompted Western Illinois University and Macomb city officials to declare Wednesday as "Kick Butts" Day.

Wednesday's "Kick Butts" presentation at WIU used some very shocking displays that not only focused on getting students to stop smoking-- but more importantly it aimed to prevent them from ever even starting.

Testing the amount of carbon monoxide in your lungs isn't something that's usually on a college student's mind.

But after WIU Sophomore William Russ, used a "Smokerlyzer," at the  Kick Butts event, and tested Positive for the deadly gas, the thought was on his mind.

"I was sort of shocked that I still had carbon monoxide left in my lungs from Sunday," said Russ.

Meanwhile, WIU Junior Andrew Schulze was analyzing the thousands of cigarette butts that had been collected from around campus.

And says he was appalled at just how many of his peers have picked up the bad habit.

"I was shocked to see that that many cigarette butts would be around campus, and to actually see them collected all in one tank was pretty surprising to me," said Schulze.

And It's reactions like Schulze and Russ' that JoAnn Hairston-Jones, WIU's Health coordinator, hoped to evoke from students.

"We talk a lot about the fact that tobacco industries targets 18-24 year olds because we know that's a vulnerable time, and so we want that message to be don't start," said Hairston-Jones.

Hairston-Jones says WIU decided to use jarring images like the cigarette butts, along with a blackened lung, and rotted teeth to give students a strong visual about the negative health affects from smoking.

And it's a tactic both Russ and Schulze are confident will work.

"If I was an actual smoker, I'd quit after seeing all that," said Russ.

"At the end of the day as long as a few people are helped, it's a good effort," said Schulze.

If you are trying to kick the habit but need help-- Illinois has a new tobacco quit line: 1-866-QUIT-YES and a web site you can visit for help as well.


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