Sunday, September 19, 1999

Filthy habit exposed on campuses

UC, XU team to combat smoking

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Focus groups made up of students will evaluate the posters this fall. The posters will be hung on both campuses next year in an anti-smoking campaign sponsored by the coalition.
        Above a picture of crumpled cigarette butts, the caption reads: “Hundreds of dollars a year and nothing to show for it but two lungs full of crap.”

        A scratch-and-sniff picture of a long-haired woman invites passers-by to smell “the intoxicating scent of her hair” — cigarette smoke.

        The messages are among two dozen offered by University of Cincinnati graphic design students who were tapped by anti-smoking groups to persuade their peers through a poster campaign to kick their cigarette habits.

        UC and Xavier University are teaming up for the anti-smoking campaign to reduce smoking rates among the age group — besides adolescents — most vulnerable to start smoking.

        On both campuses, about a third of students surveyed within the past two years said they smoked. Nationally, the number of college students who smoke increased from 22.3 percent to 28.5 percent in the past four years, according to Hamilton County's Tobacco Free Ohio Coalition.

        The campaign will join other campus efforts to raise health awareness on such issues as safe sex, date rape and binge drinking. The $3,000 the coalition spent on this campaign seems puny in comparison with the millions that tobacco companies spend to woo new customers.

        Some students expressed doubt that the campaign would change smoking rates, saying posters can't combat addiction.

        “I've never seen an advertis ing campaign about anti-smoking that was convincing,” said smoker Dave Macala, 19, of Canton, a UC sophomore studying electrical engineering.

        What will stop him from smoking? “Emphysema. Not posters,” he said.

        Jaimie Pottorf, 21, of Hyde Park used to smoke socially but quit after her grandmother, a lifelong smoker, died of lung disease three years ago.

        “People are going to do what they want to do until something personal happens to change their mind,” said Ms. Pottorf, a UC senior studying criminal justice.

        But coalition members say awareness campaigns work in states that spend money to fight smoking.


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