BEING an academic institution with a strict “no-smoking” policy within the campus, UST has partnered with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in formally launching, “QuitsS: Quit Smoking Support Program.”

QuitsS, a three-year program of the PBSP, aims to “capacitate private firms in protecting employees from health, socio-economic and environmental consequences of tobacco use and exposure.”

Among supporters of the campaign, UST “represented the academe sector of society,” Reno Nalda, program officer of PBSP, told the Varsitarian.

The others are companies like Philippine Batteries Inc., AMKOR Technologies, and Hayakawa Electronics, among others.

“In collaboration with its partners, QuitsS shall focus on promoting a sustainable workplace by urging employees to quit smoking as this is detrimental not only to one’s health but also to overall productivity,” Nalda said.

The University hosted two fitness segments throughout the program, led by professors from the Institute of Physical Education and Athletics.

Also, promotional brochures, posters, and an introductory video about the University were given and shown to those who dropped by the activity center of Glorietta in Makati City last April 22.

“It is only apt that the University participates in this nationwide launch. We are by far the only campus that strictly adheres to the objectives of the QuitsS program which promotes wellness among individuals,” said Giovanna Fontanilla, director of the Office of Public Affairs.

UST was declared a “smoke-free campus” on November 22, 2002. Yet, a Thomasian health official said it is “walking the walk” that makes it hard for Thomasians to cut the nicotine.

“Declaring (the University as a no-smoking campus) is only the easy part,” said Dr. Salve Olalia, head of UST Health Service. “Smoking has already turned into a lifestyle for some. Many smokers are still in denial, thinking it is only a social act. Students should realize that smoking is a ‘disease.’ It is an addiction that requires the help of health professionals.”

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To further address the problem, the Health Service will re-launch a campus-wide campaign on anti-smoking tagged, “Love and Cigarettes Don’t Mix” this July.

“We wish for the student body to have an open mind regarding this issue. It is through their cooperation that we can make this campaign successful,” Olalia said. M.R.A. Barrios

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