Club promotes safe, smoke-free, life style

Emily Kruse, staff writer

To spark tobacco-use discussion and express reverence to cancer sufferers, the Students Against Cancer club adviser and business teacher Mr. Matt St. Martin are sponsoring an anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaign to raise school-wide awareness the week of January 31.

The goal of the movement is to spread a spirit of support and awareness for a healthy lifestyle. “I hope that people will take away different outlooks on the matter than they did before. I hope to see other peoples’ experiences with tobacco, and how many people it actually affects,” said Samantha Thomas, senior co-chair of the Students Against Cancer group.

Mr. St. Martin’s incentive for actively leading the Students Against Cancer club this year along with drug-free lifestyle campaigns is also driven by his personal experience and empathy for all cancer sufferers. “Personally, I started chewing tobacco at the age of 12. At age 22, I was diagnosed with oral and throat cancer. Since that point, I have had three surgeries in my mouth and/or throat. In addition, I have endured both chemotherapy and radiation therapy as a part of my treatment,” said Mr. St. Martin.

The Students Against Cancer club’s inspiration stems from a common motivation to promote a healthy lifestyle and find another way to inform the school community about early cancer prevention. “Each of us has varying reasons and rationale for not smoking and chewing. It is a good visual for our community to see how many members do not use,” said St. Martin.

Beginning January 31, Students Against Cancer members will be posting informative posters and locker signs throughout the school explaining the campaign. Announcements will be made during homeroom, and tables set up at lunch will aid in publicizing the intentions of club members. “You do not need to be a member of Students Against Cancer in order to have a locker sign displaying why you choose not to use,” said Mr. St. Martin.

The tobacco-free lifestyle campaign does not have any direct correlation between the upcoming Relay for Life event, but its main purpose is rather to involve more students in vocalizing their stance on tobacco use. “I welcome any opportunity to create a greater awareness and education about the harmful effects of lifestyle choices we make that may lead to possible cancer,” said Mr. St. Martin.

Club members and campaign advisers alike predict a positive reaction to the movement, which they hope will instill an enduring spirit of wellness and informed decision-making. “I think there will be a positive reaction from the students. If nothing, it will definitely raise awareness,” said Thomas.

To share support stories and personal reasons for not using tobacco, make sure to listen to homeroom announcements next week and visit the Students Against Cancer tables at lunch starting Monday, January 31.