Group looks to change mantra on cigs from puff, puff to pass

Gavin Myers

Students hoping to stamp out smoking in the community have a new option for raising their voices — a chapter of Campaign for a Healthy, Smoke-free Chicago recently was established on campus.

Students formed the group over the summer, when the American Heart Association began encouraging local colleges to form groups to help with the campaign.

“Most of the restaurant and hospitality industry workers are college-age students, so that’s why they want to get campuses involved,” said Julia Lissner, a Medill senior and president of the NU chapter of Smoke-Free Chicago.

Lissner said she hopes the group can curb indoor smoking by lobbying for stricter clean air ordinances. One of their first actions will be to gather students for an upcoming Chicago rally supporting anti-smoking legislation.

Lissner said she started the group to help Chicago join other cities — such as New York, Boston and Skokie — in banning indoor smoking.

Evanston is considering banning smoking in public, indoor areas. The city’s Human Services Committee will discuss adding a smoking ban amendment to the Evanston Clean Indoor Air Act at a meeting Nov. 3.

Lissner said 92 percent of Chicago residents believe secondhand smoking is a health hazard, and she hopes to mobilize people’s health concerns into support for her group. For now she is relying on fliers, listservs and word of mouth to attract new members.

Brittany Lapin, a McCormick senior and health aide coordinator for Pi Beta Phi, is a member of the NU chapter of Smoke-Free Chicago.

Lapin said she will help lobby to bring a speaker from the American Heart Association to campus to speak about the dangers of secondhand smoke.

“It’s bad for our health,” she said. “Smoking is just gross.”

For more information about Campaign for a Healthy, Smoke-free Chicago, visit www.smokefreechicago.org or call 312-346-4675.