In an effort to bring awareness about tobacco use prevention, I gave my undergraduate class the opportunity to create a Photovoice project with their own interpretations of their environment as it relates to tobacco use. Each participant captured a moment in time and discussed their feelings about their photo. Below are their experiences:
“Butt-In” by Pamela Canady
This picture shows cigarette butts on the ground in front of a cigarette butt receptacle. Kroger, a smoke free facility, as a courtesy to their smoking customers placed a cigarette butt receptacle in front of their store by the trash can so that smokers could safely dispose of their cigarettes before entering the store. Some of the smokers that shopped at the store were too lazy to place their cigarette butts into the receptacle and decided to litter instead. Not only are those smokers polluting our air, they are also polluting our streets, and committing a crime all at the same time.
Things are this way because some smokers don’t think that tossing their cigarette butts on the street is littering and if they do they don’t care. Littering is a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $500. This picture can show people that taking out the time to do what is right only takes a second and it can help the environment and improve their carbon footprint.
What we can do to bring awareness to this problem and help to stop this type of littering is to become “butt-in-skis”. When we see someone tossing their cigarette butts on the ground we need to “butt-in” and let them know that there is a cigarette receptacle around the corner or simply say, “Did you know that you just littered?” The smoker may not acknowledge what you said; however, they will talk about what you did to others and this will spread the awareness and message about littering. So, “Butt-in and tell people not to litter”.
This relates to my life because I have had several members of my family that have died because of cancer due to poor life choices they made with smoking and drinking. I can understand everyone needs a way to release some sort of pressure and stress, but smoking is not the answer. People should find other methods like yoga, exercising, reading, or therapy to alleviate the chances of smoking cigarettes. Although the e-cigarettes are said to be safe and not full of nicotine, studies are still being done to prove whether it may or may not cause cancer.
This photo can be used to educate employers on the importance of designating smoke sections or eliminating it completely. Having the smoke area directly in front of the door is unprofessional and very distasteful. I have complained to my supervisor in regards to the smoke, I surely hate the smell of cigarettes and with respiratory problems I cannot be around the smoke. I have pushed to move the smoke section to a tree that sits about 30 meters from the entrance. Although the smokers at my job have complained about the distance of the smoke tent, it will alleviate the smell of Newports at the door and the cigarette butts can be placed in the trash bins. This will in turn change the appearance of our job establishment and hopefully cause the smokers to think twice about smoking another cigarette when they walk to the tent while it’s raining.
What we see here is a few cigarettes on the ground in front of a service station as well as a few
Things are this way because smoking cigarettes is legal and people don’t realize its affects on themselves as well as others. This image should be alarming to the fact that there is an empty trash can and the smoker chose to throw it on the ground which is an environmental no-no all together. In order to stop this issue there has to be greater punishment applied to those who litter cigarettes also there must be stricter rules on where smoking is allowed. We need to make this an inconvenience to the lifestyle of a smoker the way they have inconvenienced us with second hand smoke.
Most of the young people start smoking because of peer pressure and to show off but before they find out the harmful effect of cigarette, it will change into a habit and addiction and becomes a part of regular life.
This image can help educate people that cigarette is not a breakfast. Every single cigarette you smoke has a very harmful effect to our health.
As a single person I cannot do much about it but still I can spread the word cigarette smoking is injurious to health. I can make some flyers about the harmful effect of cigarette and let the people know how cigarette is smoking our health. Also, I can do math and let people realize how many cigarettes they have been already smoked since they started.
I took this picture at one of the rooms in a motel my parents work at. The guy checked into the room, only stayed one night, and this is what was left in the ashtray the next morning. Concerning the back-story of these cigarette butts, I am assuming that he had nothing to do the whole time so he just sat and smoke. He might have had a lot of concern or tension that he did not know how to deal with so he kept smoking in order to release the stress. Just sat and smoke staring at the television, thinking he is smoking the stress away. My parents or I go to check the room once a customer leaves or checks out. When we open the room, the strong smell that is left over from the smoking encompasses us. A room that has been smoked in the whole night is worse, and it is very hard to get rid of that smell. My family is exposed to third hand smoking risks. Even if it is a non-smoking room people still smoke inside. People are going to smoke as long as cigarettes exist, and it is legal.
Things are this way because it has been like this for a long time. If the motel becomes an anti-smoking area, customers will be lost. My parents also have co-workers there who smoke regularly; there is the risk of losing them too. Prohibiting smoking inside is useless as they will, and there is no way to stop it other than monitoring them inside the rooms, which is not plausible. Looking at the picture I only think how gloomy and gross it is. The message from this picture to me is that the end result of smoking does not look as good as how the person might feel while smoking. Posting the picture of chronic smoker’s lung along with this picture might help in educating others. Banning smoking inside is the one thing that can be done to prevent this, but to what extent it will be effective is questionable.
First think about what you are doing to yourself and the people around you. Think about your loved ones. If you don’t want to protect yourself, protect the people who are most precious to you. Cigarettes may not be the only thing that can cause people to get diseases, for example, lung cancer, but is one of the biggest causes. It can also be passed through second hand smoke, asbestos, and pollution or through genetics. Through this image we can learn to stop, even if it is one step at a time.
We want people to learn how to control themselves and stop smoking by helping people understand what is doing to their body. Some say it is to release stress but we can help them find a better and healthier de-stressor. Smoking causes many deaths so we want to lower the percentage. Now we could try and help people live longer lives with their family and protect the ones around them. It is important for them to realize what smoking can actually do and how hard it is to lose someone because of it.
I would like to thank all of my students who participated in this project for they have helped raise awareness about the hazards of using tobacco products.
Community Tool Box. (2013). Implementing photovoice in your community. Retrieved from http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/photovoice/main