The American University in Cairo (AUC) recently launched Break the Habit anti-smoking campaign on campus. The campaign is the result of a joint effort between the AUC clinic and the Parents Association at the University and aims at raising awareness about the negative effects of smoking on both smokers and those around them through secondhand smoke.The initiative uses posters, informative quotes, articles on social media, interactive booths and more to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking, such as lung or larynx cancer, decreased fertility, bronchial asthma, heart disease and more.
As noted by Dr. Mohamed Amin, head of the Office of Medical Services at AUC, “At AUC, we care for the students not only academically, but in every perspective,” he said. Regarding the name of the campaign, Dr. Amin stated that “breaking the habit is the most important step in ending any bad habit. Change has to be abrupt and not gradual. Smokers have to wake up in the morning and decide to simply break the habit. That's what our campaign stands for.”
After meeting with Dr. Amin, the Parents Association decided they, too, needed to participate in the campaign. “Specifically, Abdel Ghaffar emphasized that the Parents Association strives to increase the awareness and attendance of the anti-smoking clinic on campus, which helps the AUC community quit smoking through psychological help and beyond. The Parents Association also hopes to educate parents on the harmful effect of smoking through lectures that they plan to have with Dr Amin. As Abdel Ghaffar noted, “this will create a coherent environment centered on the goal of having students reject smoking. We also plan to have parents volunteer to help us in all our activities, thus increasing the involvement of parents.”
Abdel Ghaffar also explained that in order to understand more about why students “accept smoking as a fact of life,” they have worked through a market research course to conduct research on how students first begin smoking, what triggers them to smoke on campus and what will make them stop or think about quitting.