by Maggie King
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco smoke is a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, causing about 90% of lung cancers in the United States. Additionally, about 3,000 people who do not smoke die from lung cancer every year due to secondhand smoke.
TFSA is a USC-recognized student organization, newly founded in 2013.It seeks to educate USC students and LA high schoolers on the dangers of smoking tobacco, marijuana, and other recreational drugs, as well as encourage more productive ways to spend time, decrease stress, and relax.
TFSA President Artine Arzani says that his grandfather was a heavy smoker who died of cancer, directly caused by heavy smoking. Although a physician himself, Artine’s grandfather smoked at a time when smoking was widely accepted as a method of relaxation encouraged by doctors. Artine states, “By the time my grandfather was aware of the negative effects of smoking, it was too late.”
TFSA’s advisor, Dr. Steve Sussman, conducts research regarding drug abuse prevention and cessation. He states that “there are many USC non-smokers who wish that there would be no smoking around them but do not want to wrestle with the consequences of complaining about it. There are finite smoking areas…where are they?”
According to Artine, “Many other colleges, such as UCLA, have become completely smoke-free.” Although TFSA ideally hopes for USC to become a smoke-free campus, it asserts that the first step would be better DPS enforcement of designated smoking and nonsmoking areas on campus.
TFSA’s vision is to become an integral part of USC’s health improvement efforts. It anticipates becoming more involved in education and empowering fellow Trojans and high school students about the dangers of various smokable drugs. In the upcoming year, it plans to host many more student public health presentations and outreach events at local schools. In the long term, TFSA hopes to impact students by encouraging healthier lifestyle choices to improve quality of life.