Even as Delaware County considers banning smoking in many public areas, Ball State graduate students are doing their part to discourage smoking in the Ball State community.
Delaware County has a significantly higher rate of smoking than the national average, according to a 1998 study conducted by the Delaware County Board of Health. The study shows that 30 percent of Delaware County residents have smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lives, and now smoke every day or some days. Nationwide, that number is 23 percent. Furthermore, on average, smokers in Delaware County smoke more cigarettes per day than their counterparts nationwide.
Ball Memorial Hospital saw a 24 percent increase in lung cancer cases from 1999 to 2000. In 2000, Ball Memorial handled 151 lung cancer cases.
In an attempt to prevent Ball State students from smoking, and help those who already do to quit, the Cardinal Wellness Team has started a program called "Charlie Cardinal Kicks Butts." Kelly Schoonaert, associate director of the Fisher Institute for Wellness and Gerontology, applied for a grant from Smoke Free Indiana to fund the program.
The program consists of presentations to student organizations, an advertising campaign, two series of smoking cessation classes for students and two series of classes for faculty and staff. The group will also participate in the Great American Smokeout -- a national postcard campaign to convince restaurants to become smoke free.
The classes are based on the Fresh Start Program developed by the American Cancer Society. Each series consists of five classes. The first series, starting in late January, will be for students. The class, which is free and open to all students, will be taught by a certified Fresh Start instructor. Free nicotine gum will be included to help students quit.
Cardinal Wellness Team member Darson Rhodes said that the classes will largely consist of "people sharing their stories and experiences about trying to quit smoking."