WINTERVILLE, Pitt County - Of the 58 community colleges in our state, 43 of them are smoke free. Pitt Community College may be the next institution to be added to that list.
There's 14 designated smoking areas at PCC, but one campus group is hoping to get rid of them. However, the idea of losing smoking privileges isn't sitting well with some students.
"I'm 18 but I'll be honest, I've been smoking since I was 9," said Jacob Ervin. "So if you're gonna take that privilege away from me, then I'm not gonna have any motivation. I'm not gonna be able to concentrate."
Students are partnering with the Truth Iniative for a "Stomp It Out" campaign. They are hoping a survey that is available for students from Oct. 9-20 will show most students want a smoke-free campus.
PCC received a grant of $7,500 from an organization called Truth Initiative back in January. With that money, they raise awareness of health dangers but also find out if the students and staff want the campus to be smoke free.
In 2011, PCC changed the smoking policy on campus to designated smoking areas where you previously could smoke anywhere as long as it was 25 feet from the building. Now, you have to smoke in the gazebos on campus.
"I have a dad who smoked for years and he has lots of health issues, and so I think that by having a healthier life, we can really prevent heart disease, lung cancer, and even just smelling bad in the future," said Amelia Martin, student support manager at PCC.
Many students we spoke with said smoking is their way of relieving stress, which the "Stomp It Out" walk directly addresses.
"Walking is something else you can do to relieve stress, and there's other things that you can do as an alternative," Hanna Copeland said.
Once the survey is complete, if a majority of students express support for a smoke-free campus, leaders will draft a new policy. If approved,the campus will go smoke-free beginning next school year.
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