Students provide support to reduce tobacco and vape use

Support services for those on campus that want to reduce their tobacco use are being increased this semester with the help of a group of second-year respiratory therapy students.

The students, who are currently being trained in tobacco reduction, will have a kiosk in Old Main every Tuesday to connect would-be quitters with a variety of information and resources.

One big change from past years of the program is that on-campus counseling is now available through Aaron Ladd, a respiratory therapy professor and certified tobacco educator.

Respiratory therapy students Cindy Ho and Jasmin Loverock told The Omega their role is to connect nicotine users to free, easy-to-use resources like QuitNow.ca and help people navigate B.C.’s smoking cessation program.

“You get three months free per year of nicotine replacement therapy or medications,” Ho said of the program.

The students in the tobacco education group are also planning extensive community outreach around campus and local high schools to warn youth about tobacco products, as well as vaping and e-cigarettes.

Many youth do not see them as harmful. This, Loverock said, is because youth are “drawn in with all the different flavours,” and don’t know about some of the risks.

According to Ho, one such risk is in the form of preservatives commonly found in food and cosmetics.

“You can ingest it, and that’s okay, but if you inhale it, it affects the surfactant in your lungs.”

Diacetyl is one of three common preservatives which has been found in many flavoured vape liquids and studies have linked to severe lung disease.

The group is also hoping to help promote Run to Quit, a specialized program that supports smokers trying to quit through exercise, which is slated to hit Kamloops next year.

The Tobacco Education kiosk will remain in Old Main for the remainder of the semester for anyone seeking further information on reducing their tobacco or vape use. Interested students can also contact the TRU Wellness centre or e-mail tobaccoeducation@tru.ca.

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