Truth Initiative supports LBW goal

Published 1:14 am Friday, April 12, 2019

Student-led effort aims to make campus tobacco-free

Students at LBW Community College spread awareness Thursday about non-smoking thanks to the Truth Initiative Tour.

“I think today went great,” Denise Smith from Truth, said. “This is just another way for us to support Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in their efforts to become smoke free.”

Truth Initiative is America’s largest non-profit public health organization dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past. Representatives of the organization speak, seek and spread the truth about tobacco through education, tobacco-control research and policy studies, community activism and engagement, and innovation in tobacco dependence treatment.

Two Truth Initiative student leaders from LBW worked hard to get the tour to stop in Andalusia.

“Caroline Woods and Trey McClain are here working hard to get people involved,” Smith said. “They are trying to get people to understand the impact of smoking, vaping and using Juuls and how they can be the change they want to see on their own campus. We brought the tour here because of their stellar work and now they’ll have the opportunity to host different Truth events on their own.”

The Truth Tour travels to six states in a span of 14 days.

“So we will be stopping at seven different colleges in two weeks,” Marketing manager Michael Coursey said. “We will stop in Alabama, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. We stop at only community colleges and women’s colleges to get the word out.”

One of the more popular products in the big tobacco world right now is the Juul, a vape system that looks similar to a USB device, and through which young adults are becoming addicted to nicotine.

“I think these e-cigarettes and Juuls are the most popular products that kids are seeing nowadays on college campuses,” Smith said. “What we do is make sure that all of these students are aware of the harm in smoking those and the product itself.”

Coursey said Truth is implementing a “Quitline” where teens and young adults can text a number and get help with their nicotine addiction.

“In January, we launched the Quitline,” Coursey said. “In a span of two weeks, we had nearly 30,000 young adults text that number to get help. That is how serious of a problem this is. We are getting texts daily saying, ‘Hey, I started this thing and now I can’t quit.’ The data is still so new on these e-cigarettes and Juuls that we don’t know for sure about everything, but 30,000 young adults in a span of two weeks tells you a lot. The Quitline is tailored specifically for young people to wean themselves off of those vape systems and Juuls.”

Woods, the Truth student leader for LBW, said she worked hard to bring the Truth Tour to LBW because she wants to better the community.

“We want to better our community in the best way possible,” Woods said. “Ms. Denise has really helped us learn how to get to people our age and older in the best way possible.”

McClain the other Truth student leader for LBW said that he encouraged two people to slow down on the Juuling.

“They told me that they would slow down,” McClain said. “They didn’t say quit, but it is a step. The more we talk to the students, the more they are going to realize that we are not trying to shove this information down their throat and make them quit smoking. We are just trying to make sure that they are informed of the harm in what they are smoking.”

LBW student Eric Collins enjoyed the Truth Tour and is ready to spread the information he learned.

“Today  was great,” Collins said. “We learned so much about non-smoking and the work that the Truth people are doing. I don’t smoke, but I definitely think that I am going to start spreading the word about non-smoking. The Truth people did a great job with incorporating the information with dancing and games and I just really appreciate them coming to LBW and spending the day with us.”