Horry County follows suit to national 'No smoking' trends

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - No smoking signs are posted on more and more facilities nationwide, and it's a trend happening right here in our area as well.

At Coastal Carolina University, you'll find fewer and fewer places where you're allowed to smoke.

To help wind down the number of students who smoke, CCU will launch their first student smoke-free clinic this Tuesday, September 16.

"The clinic is an eight-week program, whenever we first meet in the first session we're just going to do welcome introductions, and talk about the free from smoking program. We're going to talk about how you're affected socially, mentally, and physically," explains Amandela Wilson, Conduct Assistant at the Dean of Students Office.

This is the first year for the CCU campus to be tobacco-free, and the impact on students is working.

"It definitely deters some people; it makes people sneakier about it," says Richard Kepler, CCU freshman.

Students at Coastal say they see fewer students smoking.

Andi McDanel also a CCU freshman says, "It's so inconvenient to walk somewhere else to smoke off campus, so I think it really helps."

For some student smokers, kicking the habit isn't on their agenda. Those students do find ways on campus to sneak a drag or two, but not without keeping a watchful eye for security or professors, who will slap a pretty penny to the costly habit. It's a $50 fine if you get caught.

"We try to find different ways; we'll maybe wait a couple of hours, maybe go to a gas station or something like that - it makes the day a little longer, a little harder." said Andrew DePasquale, CCU sophomore.

Although Andrew doesn't agree with CCU's new ban, he agrees with their effort to help.

Lighting up a cigarette is becoming a thing of the past for young adults not just at CCU, but also outside campus.

The City of Myrtle Beach is the only city along the Grand Stand where smoking inside restaurants and bars is permitted.

Some restaurants, like Moe Moon's, are taking a stance, choosing to regulate it. The bartender there noticed the majority of smokers are the older crowd.

"Where older adults will come in and ask for an ash tray, younger people won't even think to do it because they're not supposed to do it anywhere else," said Rachel Kesser, bartender at Moe Moon's.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports 18 percent of American adults were cigarette smokers in 2012. Local restaurants and bars confirm those stats hold true, with fewer people lighting up.

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