'Nic Free At UMD' Health Campaign by Students

'Nic Free At UMD' pins designed as part of students' health campaign. 'Nic Free At UMD' pins designed as part of students' health campaign. | 

Updated: October 09, 2019 12:31 PM

‘Nic Free At UMD’ is the slogan for a semester-long health campaign being planned by a group of eight students at the University of Minnesota Duluth.


“This is my Community Health Methods Class,” Melissa Peirson, senior majoring in Public Health Education and Promotion said. “And we’re doing a health campaign for cessation of nicotine on the UMD campus.”

The class is being led by Associate Professor, Amy Versnik Nowak, who encouraged students to choose a topic to plan a health campaign around.

“With vaping being such a big thing in the news right now, we chose to plan our campaign around that,” Peirson said.

The purpose of the group’s campaign is to find out why students vape and come up with solutions to get them to quit.

“A big part of public health is assessing the needs of the population and then once we have those results and the data for that, then we’re able to do what we can to most benefit the population,” Peirson said.

In order to determine what kind of intervention is needed on the campus, the group put together an anonymous survey asking questions, such as, ‘Do you vape?,’ ‘Do people around you vape?’ and ‘How harmful do you think vaping is?’

“It ranges from how harmful you think e-cigarettes are to different nicotine products and then also just different ideals on your beliefs and attitudes and knowledge towards vaping,” Peirson said.

She provided the following example: “So like if someone was next to you vaping, how likely would you be to intervene and put yourself into the position to say, you know what, I’m not comfortable with this, can you please stop?”

Peirson says that the group has made pins promoting their message so far, but hopes to make posters and maybe sweatshirts as well.

“We made a brand identity for the campaign and we chose the colors and different icons. We made little juuls and vaping modules in Adobe,” she said.

In addition to their extensive research, students are being mentored by Health Educators, Lauretta Perry, who specializes in drug and alcohol education and Dori Decker who coordinated the Health Fair and played a role in the history of UMD being a smoke free campus.

Peirson says that at the end of the semester, the group will give a campus-wide presentation on their findings. They hope to showcase both the health risks associated with vaping and the benefits of stopping.

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