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Eastern Kentucky University students made more than 500 social media posts in support of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, and well over 100 faculty and staff signed a banner in support of EKU’s Tobacco-Free, Vape-Free policy, enacted in 2014.

The annual event occurs on the third Thursday of November with a focus on encouraging current smokers to make a plan to quit smoking. EKU’s event featured cold turkey subs, a photo booth, long-sleeve tee shirts, and giveaways from Healthy You! At EKU and the Student Wellness and Health Promotion Office in Campus Recreation. Healthy You! also held a raffle for two Fitbits for staff or faculty pledging to quit smoking.

Smoking is a leading cause of cancer along with other diseases. Kentucky leads the nation in the annual rate of both new cancer cases and lung cancer cases

“The National Cancer Institute’s data indicate that five out of every 1,000 Kentuckians will be diagnosed with some type of cancer this year, and one of every 1,000 will get a diagnosis of lung cancer,” said Dr. Jason Marion, chair of the Tobacco-Free Task Force and associate professor of environmental health sciences at EKU. “These rates are unacceptable, and together we can do better. We’re all in this together for our families, our communities and our Commonwealth. University policies can help, but more important is support for one another, as quitting is easier said than done. The habits many of our students develop will last a lifetime, impacting employment opportunities, income, and their own health.”

Marion said he knows of “no other university that had such a great program as our event. The atmosphere was awesome!”

Photos from the event’s photo booth are available at

For more information about EKU’s Tobacco-Free, Vape-Free Policy, visit