© Photo special to The Guardia by Devon Rogers
Holland College students Klark Brockerville, left, and Emma Hachey kicked the habit and are proud to be non-smokers. They say it’s due, in part, to the Dare2Quit challenge.
A campaign to challenge students at Holland College to quit smoking has been a success, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
“We are extremely proud of all the students who made a commitment to publically share the ups and downs of their journey to quit smoking,” says Lori Barker, executive director of the P.E.I. division of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Seven of the eight participants in the Dare2Quit challenge are now completely tobacco free. One continues to work toward their goal.
Over a six week period, the Holland College students wrote about their efforts to quit smoking, using social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs and YouTube videos.
Holland College Student Union President, A.J. MacIntyre, one of the participants who managed to quit “cold turkey”, is impressed by the attention the project received.
“I’ve been approached by people looking to support me or seeking information about quitting,” said MacIntyre.
“This was a major part of my success and I recommend that anyone who is trying to quit should tell friends and family members, co-workers or classmates about their decision.
“It’s important to have a support group and it’s good to have people around you who will hold you accountable.”
The Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey, 2012, reports that 20 per cent of 20 to 24 year olds on Prince Edward Island are smokers, considerably higher than the national smoking rate of 15 per cent.
Most participants felt the publicity provided extra accountability and motivation.
“It made me want to keep my word and it was also a great way to share in the progress of others who were quitting,” says Emma Hachey, a student in the Culinary Arts program.
Kathleen Lutz struggled to remain smoke-free but feels the project was beneficial.
“Although I wasn’t able to completely quit smoking at this time, my views and opinions on my addiction have changed immensely,” says Lutz. “I’ve learned a great deal and I will master this.”
The students are impressed by the amount of money they are saving.
MacIntrye tracked his progress over a 42 day period and saved $370.56 by not smoking 772 cigarettes he normally would have during that time.