When it comes to tobacco use, Cankdeska Cikana Community College is taking a stand.

When it comes to tobacco use, Cankdeska Cikana Community College is taking a stand.

Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC) is one of many campuses across the country that has a tobacco-free policy.  As part of the “1-Day Stand” campaign on Nov. 19, CCCC will host an educational forum supported by the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative Challenge.  The campaign seeks to raise awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke and to help tobacco users quit.

“College is a time when young people are at a higher risk for starting smoking and transitioning from experimental to regular tobacco use,” says Dr. Cynthia Lindquist. “We want to encourage life-long healthy habits and ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone on campus. That’s why we are taking this stand and supporting those looking to quit.”

Cankdeska Cikana Community College along with Spirit Lake Prevention Program, the Indian Health Service and the Lake Region District Health Unit has many activities planned for the day. A program will start at 11:00 am in the CCCC amphitheater with presentations including a panel of former smokers telling their story on why and how they quit. Lunch provided for all participants. Indian Health Service will provide quit smoking packages of patches or gum to those that commit to quit smoking.

Student support for a long-term tobacco-free policy is high. A study conducted on campus earlier this month found that 66 percent of students prefer the campus be tobacco-free.

“Students understand the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, but quitting tobacco is hard,” said Dr. Cynthia Lindquist. “If you know someone who is looking to quit, be their wingman and support them today and through the process. Your encouragement could help them kick the habit for good.”

Studies show that 99 percent of all regular tobacco users start by the age of 26. Tobacco is also the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States – and secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 49,400 heart and lung cancer deaths each year nationwide.

“Smoke-free policies are an effective way to reduce tobacco use by preventing initiation and making it easier for smokers to quit,” said Dr. Cynthia Lindquist. “Policies have also shown to decrease smoking rates and positive attitudes toward tobacco use.”

To date, fourteen colleges in North Dakota – and approximately 1,577 campuses nationwide – have a smoke- or tobacco-free policy in place. This is in sharp contrast to 420 campuses in 2010.

With greater commitment, Cankdeska Cikana Community College campus could turn a 1Day Stand into a 365 Day Stand.  That’s something that could satisfy everyone—or at the very least, everyone’s health.