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Binghamton University implements new tobacco-free ambassador program

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Tobacco-Free Ambassador Program

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — November is National Tobacco Awareness Month and has Binghamton University students campaigning with a new program to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and vaping.

The University’s Health Promotion and Prevention Services (HPPS) created this tobacco-free ambassador program and are recruiting volunteers to help enforce the tobacco-free rule on campus.

Their 30 People Campaign’s aim is to educate the campus community about the tobacco-free policy that was implemented on BU’s campus in August 2017.

The ambassadors can be anyone at Binghamton University, and will be trained on how to approach someone violating the tobacco-free policy. They will encourage the tobacco user to discard of their tobacco or nicotine device and offer them a card that highlights the resources offered on campus. One resource available to students is Nicotine Replacement Therapy.

On Wednesday, Kimberly Peabody, Director of HPPS, and Chelsea Cleary, BU student and ambassador, said they are not the tobacco police and are not looking to get people in trouble, but instead, to help make the campus a healthier environment.

“Instead of being punitive in nature, we wanted to provide resources, support, to both faculty, staff and students,” Peabody said.

Cleary said she joined the program after reading about it and said she resonated with what the campaign stands for.

“This is community building, this is coalition building, this is creating foundations for health,” Cleary said. “Let’s do it.”

Not only is the program for students, but also for  faculty and community members. They said it is everybody’s responsibility. They said if an ambassador finds a hot spot where students crowd to smoke, they will put signs to remind them to make healthier choices.

This is the first time they are implementing the program and said they hope it continues to grow throughout the year. As part of this campaign, on November 21st, you can turn in your Juul or e-cigarette at the Great American Vape Out, hosted on BU’s campus from noon to 4 p.m. in the UU-Tillman Lobby.

Melanie Gulbas

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