A picture of untreated "hairy tongue," a jar of tar, another jar filled with green phlegm, a replica of stained teeth with ulcer-covered gums and tongue, a blackened lung, nail polish remover and rat poison all lined the IGNITE (Influence, Guide, Network for Inter-Collegiate Tobacco Education) table at Mesa Community College's student center.
Each item on the table demonstrated either what cigarettes online products can do to those who use them or illustrated the kind of chemicals and toxins found in cigarettes.
Most people who stopped at the table were nonsmokers or former smokers. Some hoped to pick up information about quitting for a family member or a friend. Others were drawn by the comparison of a healthy lung and a black lung. A few asked questions about the jars of gunk on display or the toxins found in cigarettes.
Deandre Dupis-Harrison, a sophomore, asked questions as he poked at the packaged pig lung that demonstrated what a human lung looks like after 15 to 20 years of smoking cigarettes.
"I bet people are still going to look at this and walk straight out that door and smoke cigarettes a cigarette," Dupis-Harrison said.
While he may be correct for now, that won't be the case for long. Starting July 1, 2012, smoking cigarettes and cheap cigarettes products will be banned from Maricopa County Community College District property.
"As an educational institution, we have an obligation to lead the way in matters of health awareness and education," said Chancellor Rufus Glasper in a press release last month. "When this policy goes into effect, our district and its 10 colleges will join hundreds of other colleges and universities across the country in what is a growing trend."
About 500 American universities and colleges prohibit on-campus smoking cigarettes, cigarettes store or both.
And while the ban was announced last month, Wednesday marked the formal introduction of the Maricopa BreatheEasy initiative, a program designed to help those who work and learn at a Maricopa Community College school transition to a smoke- and tobacco-free campus. The formal announcement was in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout, a national campaign by the American Cancer Society to help people quit smoking cigarettes.
"We're announcing this change early because we recognize that it will require a change in behavior in a significant number of our students, faculty members and employees," Glasper said in a video announcement on the district's website.
The district is still trying to ensure people who work and learn on all its properties are aware of the upcoming change in the tobacco policy, said Angela Askey, MCC media relations coordinator.
"Right now, we're just trying to get the word out," Askey said.
Specific ways on how the district will enforce the ban haven't been finalized yet, and the district plans to explain how the ban will be enforced closer to the July start-date.