Months ahead of campus-wide smoking ban, U of M offering students gift cards to quit

Months ahead of campus-wide smoking ban, U of M offering students gift cards to quit

This winter will likely be the last University of Minnesota students can light up a heater outside the Walker Library.

RELATED: State smoking ban turns five today

After a year of preparation, the school is moving toward finally implementing a campus-wide smoking ban next fall. And in order to make the transition as smooth as possible, Boynton Health Services is now offering students especially enticing incentives to quit through its Quit and Win program.

The Minnesota Daily explains:

Ferdinand Schlapper, Boynton's director and chief health officer, said the program requires participants to have a tobacco-free friend sponsor their quitting attempt. He said this has been the program's most effective piece since it started nine years ago...

Boynton has offered the program since the 2004-05 school year, director of public health and communications Dave Golden said. But this year, smokers aren't required to take part in a study on quitting programs, and Golden said this has boosted the number of participants.

If participants can remain tobacco-free for the entire month, they have a shot at winning $2,000, $1,000 or $500 in Amazon gift cards. Boynton employees will use a urine test to verify that participants were tobacco users and have stopped for a month.

"If you're going to do something like go smoke-free, you do want to make sure there's plenty of opportunities for people to quit if they want to," Golden told the Daily.

So we live in a society that is moving toward legalizing pot while simultaneously cracking down on tobacco smoking. We'll let the sociology majors on the soon-to-be-smoke-free West Bank figure out what it all means.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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