09:46 AM

Great American Smokeout to Reduce Tobacco Waste

By Samantha Boden

Cal State San Marcos and San Diego State University are collaborating to promote tobacco-free living and the 47th annual Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 16.

The Great American Smokeout is held annually by the American Cancer Society on the third Thursday in November to encourage people to quit smoking. The Smokeout acts as a starting point for people’s journeys to give up smoking, encouraging them to make at least a single day tobacco-free. 

In support of the day, both CSUSM and SDSU will share their projects about smoking waste at a community meeting from noon-1 p.m. in Markstein 101 on CSUSM's campus. 

CSUSM will present a collaborative research project with UC Davis. The project, called the Tobacco, E-cigarette and Cannabis Waste Randomized Control Trial, is led by CSUSM psychology professor Kim Pulvers and UCD professors Elisa Tong and Susan Stewart.

Pulvers, Tong and Stewart will study CSUSM and UCD students’ perspectives of tobacco and vaping product waste. Students enrolled in the project will watch videos, take surveys and talk with researchers throughout a six-week intervention. These study visits will allow researchers to consider students’ views and behaviors about tobacco, nicotine and cannabis vape waste. CSUSM and UCD students interested in participating in the study can email tecwrct@gmail.com

SDSU’s Center for Tobacco and the Environment will present its Tobacco Product Waste Reduction Project. For this project, the researchers collected almost 30,000 pieces of tobacco-related waste items, such as cigarette butts and vape cartridges, in just 60 census blocks around the county. They estimate that, throughout the eight largest cities in San Diego County, there are about 9 million pieces of tobacco trash.

“There’s really a lot out there,” said SDSU psychology professor Georg Matt, the principal investigator on the project. “Our goal is to figure out how to get tobacco product waste in neighborhoods, shopping malls, parks and beaches to zero.”

After the researchers finished collecting waste, they restarted the process beginning with the last block. They found that within two months, 96% of the original amount of waste had reaccumulated. Their next step in the project is to engage with the community to consider ways to limit waste. Click here to see the schedule of meetings and register.