What should I do if I see someone smoking at school? If you see someone smoking at school it means that the non-smoking rules that apply to every school are not being strictly enforced.
As a first step, you should approach one of your teachers and tell him/her about your concerns. He or she should be willing to relay that information to the principal or vice principal who is in charge of enforcing the non-smoking rules.
Next, if you’re really serious about working towards a totally smoke-free school, tell that teacher (or someone else in the school administration) that you are interested in organizing non-smoking activities at school. Then get together with other non-smoking activists (teamwork is always better!!) and start thinking about ways to increase student awareness of the negative health effects of tobacco use. Some ideas: You could start a TRASH coalition, organize tobacco-free sports challenges, teach about the harmful effects of tobacco use to elementary school kids, coordinate or attend tobacco free concerts, distribute TRASHpostcards, wear or use your TRASH gear, and don’t forget to spread the news about the Maryland TRASH Web site.
That’s the activist approach. On a one-to one basis, though, if you see one of your classmates smoking and you want to say something right away, you could. Remember that if you start asking questions, you should focus your conversation on the other person’s interest in quitting, and offer help.
Once you are confident that your classmate understands that you are truly concerned and willing to help:
- Offer information about cessation classes or participation in a TRASH coalition or other school club/group
- Ask if they’ve ever tried to quit
If they say yes:
- Ask when, and how long they remained a non-smoker
- Ask if they felt any physical change (withdrawal symptoms, better smell and taste, more lung capacity)
- Ask why they started again
- Reassure them. Remind them that most people have to try to quit several times before they are finally able to kick the habit for good