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PCC Health and Wellness and student volunteers joined in the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout by participating in a campus cigarette butt clean-up.

In January 2014, PCC implemented a smoke-free policy. This banned all forms of smoking on campus grounds. However, in only two hours, volunteers collected a staggering 6,000 cigarettes, illustrating that student smoking is still an issue.

Student Ivy Liang heard about the volunteer event through Scholars Club.

“I participated because I felt it was meaningful,” said Liang. “I am surprised by how much butts I found.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. It accounts for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or one of every five deaths.

In addition to the campus clean-up, PCC took important steps on Thursday to bring awareness to the health risks smoking causes. Health and Wellness services tried to make the event fun and informative by providing brochures and games in the quad.

Students had the opportunity to spin a wheel and then answer a true or false question about smoking. Correct responses were rewarded with the choice of a small gift of a stress ball, hand sanitizer or pocket notebook.

“I’m here to browse. I think I volunteered last time. Last year there were a lot of butts collected,” said second-year student Brooke Nelson.

The main purpose of the Smokeout is to make students aware of the negative effects of smoking and clear up misconceptions about smoking.

“We do this every year. A lot of passersby are shocked by what the amount of bags of cigarettes are on the table,” said staffer Jessica Combs. “We are here to inform and give students help if they need help quitting.”