As part of a celebration of the Great American Smokeout, the Maricopa County Community College District today formally launched Maricopa BreatheEasy, a healthy-living initiative that will result in smoke free and tobacco free properties on July 1, 2012. On that date, the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges will join more than 500 other colleges and universities that have become smoke free, tobacco-free, or both.
As an educational institution, it’s our job to lead the way for the members of our community,” said Chancellor Rufus Glasper. “We recognize that making our properties smoke free and tobacco free will mean that some employees and students will have to change their habits, and we want to help them do so.” Among other things, the District will provide a robust schedule of smoking cessation programs and has asked school stores to offer nicotine gum and lozenges for sale.
Dr. Glasper said the District is announcing the policy change well in advance of its implementation to give students and employees who use tobacco products plenty of time to decide how to adjust to this change. On July 1, 2012, employees and students who continue to use tobacco will have the choice of not using it on District property, or taking breaks off-property.
Dr. Glasper gave Maricopa students and employees a preview of BreatheEasy in a video announcement Oct. 17. Since then, the campaign has been the topic of extensive – and at times heated – discussion across the Maricopa community.
Today's launch is being held in conjunction with the 36th annual Great American Smokeout, a national event sponsored in part by the American Cancer Society. It's a time when smokers and other tobacco users are encouraged to use the day to create a plan to quit the habit, or to plan ahead and begin their tobacco-free life that day. The day is based on the fact that tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States.
Because more than half the smokers in the country have tried to quit for at least a day, the Cancer Society and other supporters publicize programs and resources that can help smokers kick the habit. All the Maricopa Community Colleges will hold events marking the Great American Smokeout, some of which will encourage students and employees to pledge to quit their tobacco habits. Some will be led by students from campus chapters of IGNITE (Influence, Guide, Network for Inter-Collegiate Tobacco Education), a program that helps college students practice advocacy and integrate tobacco control messages into their projects and activities. The district also announced that nicotine gum and lozenges will be available for sale at campus bookstores to help students, employees and visitors who are fighting nicotine cravings.
As part of today’s announcement, the District unveiled new web pages that contain information on tobacco use and smoking cessation for employees and students. Resources for students will be found on a variety of locations on the websites of the individual colleges, while those for employees and interested members of the community can be found at www.breatheeasy.maricopa.edu.
GateWay Community College has several events in November that are open to the public, some are even free. Here is what’s being offered:
AZBio’s Economic Round Table - Nov. 15, 1 to 3 p.m., FREE
AZBio presents The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation at GateWay Community College is hosting the Economic Gardening Round Table in the Center for Health Careers and Education CH1106/Auditorium. The event is free, but registration is required at http://economicgarden.eventbrite.com. Seating is limited, so register soon. For information, call (602) 286-5953.
Phoenix Symphony Orchestra - Nov. 21, 7 to 8 p.m., FREE
As part of the GateWay to the Arts series, a quintet from Phoenix Symphony Orchestra will perform classical music from Baroque to Renaissance, with some modern and holiday music thrown in, at GateWay Community College, Main Building 1100N/S. The concert is free and open to the public. No registration required. For information, call (602) 286-8487.
Market on the Move Produce Distribution - Nov. 26, 8 a.m. to Noon, $10 buys 60 pounds of produce
GateWay Early College High School is working with Market on the Move to distribute thousands of pounds of produce over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. All are welcome to purchase 60 pounds of produce for $10. Produce varies and you are able to split a purchase between multiple families and/or friends. Distribution will occur in the northwest parking lot near Van Buren. For information, call (602) 286-8759.