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Students Get Bucks for Butts

UCF students will have the opportunity to show their support for the smoke-free campus policy by collecting cigarette trash around the main campus March 3.

“We think it is important to keep the smoke-free policy visible,” said Samantha Spiers, president of the Student Health Advisory Committee, which is hosting the event for the third time. “This is a fun event that allows students to show their support for a smoke-free campus.”

The four students who collect the most cigarette trash will be awarded $50 gift cards to Barnes & Noble.

To participate, students should check-in at the smoke-free tent on the Student Union patio between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to pick up their supplies. Students return their collected trash to the tent so it can be measured for volume and then disposed of by Environmental Health and Safety. All participants will be given UCF smoke-free T-shirts, and the four winners will be notified the next day for prize pickup.

The UCF smoke-free policy went into effect in 2012. Since UCF went smoke-free, Valencia College, Florida State University and Seminole State College have also joined the more than 1,500 universities and colleges in the nation with smoke-free or tobacco-free, policies in place. When UCF made the change, all outdoor cigarette-butt receptacles on campus were removed. Mary Schmidt-Owens, assistant director of UCF’s Medical and Health Administration, said that keeping the receptacles would have sent conflicting messages, so it was decided to remove all receptacles on campus.

Schmidt-Owens, co-chair of the UCF smoke-free committee, said the campus Environmental Health and Safety staff reports that cigarette trash is down from before the policy went into effect. She said the health center continues to offer smoking-cessation support to all students, faculty and staff who are interested in quitting. To register, contact the center at 407-823-2701 or www.hs.ucf.edu.