Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guest Post: The Great American Smokeout (GASO) Part 2 by Megan Johnson, MSKW, CHES and the class of HS 3073

Photovoice: a process in which people – usually those with limited power due to poverty, language barriers, race, class, ethnicity, gender, culture, or other circumstances – use video and/or photo images capture aspects of their environment and experiences and share them with others (Community Tool Box, 2013).

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”.
Ashley Holiday

As a pharmacy technician we see firsthand the harmful effects that cigarette smoking does. Every day I service patients in long term care facilities with cancer, respiratory and heart disorders. This is a photo of the cigarette canister with old cigarette butts left on the ground. The unseen truth behind this photo is that the employees I work with are shortening their life span each and every time they smoke a cigarette. Not only that they are also harming non-smokers as we inhale the smoke walking into the building.

 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.

Quinnenietra Bell

What we see here is a few cigarettes on the ground in front of a service station as well as a few
around an almost empty trash can. The real issue is that a smoker walks into the store before putting out the cigarettes seen in the picture above. The empty trashcan represents how the smoke will feel once he/she has partaken in smoking, which can lead to major health issues. This relates to us because we are affected daily by the choices of a smoker who chooses to smoke in public.

 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.

Usha Maratta
Most of the cigarette smokers know that smoking is injurious to health. But, it is very easy for them to ignore that truth. This picture shows a cup of coffee and a cigarette. But it has a great story behind it. This is not just a cup of coffee and a cigarette; this is my best friend’s breakfast that she has been routinely taking more than 10 years. Her every morning starts this way with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. All she smokes is two cigarettes a day, one in a morning and one at night before going to bed. She is a Nurse and she knows the harmful effect of cigarettes. It looks like one cigarette in the picture but this is not just one cigarette burning, it is burning her life, her family’s life and my life as well because I am also inhaling that smoke every day since I have been living with her. She thinks she is smoking only two cigarettes a day but when I did very simple math I got a result that she already smoked more than 7200 cigarette in the past 10 years. It is very hard to educate educated people that smoking is injurious to health because they are doing it after knowing everything. Also, when something changes into a habit or routine life it will be very hard for them to leave that life.

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.

Annmary Thomas

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. 

Diana Treviso

In the image of “no smoking including the electric cigarettes” is a good start for people not to smoke where they are endangering children and the people around them. Seeing this sign people can be calm that people won’t smoke around them but in reality people continue to smoke. It is easier for people to get away with smoking electric cigarettes without even being noticed. People are even doing them inside their jobs or even in class. They aren’t taking those signs seriously because people won’t notice because some don’t even give off the smell. As well as on tobacco-free campuses, students go near the school to smoke. There are many types of cigarettes, cigars and electronic cigarettes that people can now buy.

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.
-Megan Johnson


Community Tool Box. (2013). Implementing photovoice in your community. Retrieved from

No comments: