Isabella Churchill has seen the terrible toll of smoking first hand.“Both of my grandparents passed away due to smoking-related illnesses,” said Brock University campus co-ordinator for Leave the Pack Behind. “I believe if I can prevent someone from smoking for the first time, I might be able to save a life.”It’s National Non-Smoking Week in Canada and a small, but dedicated, group of students at Brock are providing support and peer advice to those thinking about quitting smoking.Churchill has some important and potentially life-altering information she wants everyone to know.One in five students will try their first cigarette at university. This means, 20 per cent of the student population is experimenting with smoking, whether in social situations, to manage stress or simply because they are away from home for the first time and cigarettes are accessible. All of these factors can contribute to someone smoking for the first time.Leave the Pack Behind (LTPB) is a provincial tobacco control program that offers young adults smoking and quitting information, personalized support and free quitting resources such as nicotine replacement therapy.“There is no negative imagery used in LTPB informational materials,” says Churchill. “We are here for education and support. We do not want to alienate anyone by making them feel stigmatized or judged.”Churchill encourages the LTPB staff and volunteers to engage students in a good quality interaction that creates the space for a mindful conversation about their habits.“We know that social smoking escalates to regular smoking and the best way to prevent this is to talk to students about their risks,” says Churchill. “We start by asking open-ended questions that will allow the student to reflect on ways they can change their behaviours. Such as, what don’t you like about smoking? How do your friends feel about you smoking? Then we want to meet them where they are at.”For those students in denial, LTPB has a carbon monoxide detector which tests the CO levels in a person’s lungs simply by having them blow into it. “This is a really effective tool because it makes people aware of what they cannot see happening in their body. The reading provides an accurate and quantifiable value of how much CO is in the lungs.”As part of LTPB’s National Non-Smoking Week activities, the student staff and volunteers are promoting the wouldurather contest which opens on Jan. 25. The contest is based on the concept that it is easier to quit smoking when you are with a community of people who are also trying to quit, as opposed to doing it alone. The contest offers cash prizes and challenges participants to change their smoking behaviours at various levels. Registration for the contest closes at midnight on Jan. 24.