Campus News

June 9, 2011

Tobacco-Free Emory

Striking up conversations about smoking

"I've been affected by smoking since the day I was born," says David Latov, a first-year medical student at Emory. "I never got to meet my grandpa on my mom's side because he smoked his entire life and died of lung cancer when she was seven months pregnant with me."

Latov is among the many people talking about how smoking has affected their lives, as the University considers the feasibility of becoming a tobacco-free campus, tentatively effective Jan. 1, 2012.

"The message isn't that if you smoke you're a bad person," Latov says. "We need to acknowledge that smoking has real consequences and that everyone's affected, not just the people that smoke."

Linda Rosen, a business office manager at Wesley Woods, recently graduated from the University's smoking cessation program -- for the third time.

"I learned the hard way that I can't smoke 'sometimes,'" Rosen says. "I really now am a non-smoker."

An epiphany for her was writing a letter to cigarettes. "It was basically a good-bye letter, which was painful and heartfelt because smoking had been there for me," Rosen says, adding that she is glad to finally feel free of the need to light up.

Kerry Peluso, associate vice president for research administration, knows the health impacts of smoking firsthand. Her husband, whose degenerative disc disease was accelerated by his smoking, had his last cigarette on the eve of his second surgery in the past year.

"We still live with the threat of the smoking though, because much of the damage that it did was not reversible and we do not know when and how it will affect our future," she says. "I fully support programs that help people realize the dangers of smoking."

The video series is one of the ways the Tobacco-Free Task Force is communicating the new policy for campus.

"We got a lot of perspectives from faculty, staff and students and we thought that presenting them in a video format would be most compelling," says task force member David Payne.

The task force teamed up with videographer Corey Broman-Fulks in University Communications to film a series of campus perspectives.

The stories – personal statements and reflections on tobacco use, quitting tobacco use and what a tobacco-free campus might look like – range from an asthmatic freshman to the former head of the CDC.

See more campus perspectives on tobacco-free Emory collected in a video playlist.

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