Respiratory Therapy Students Find Thousands of Cigarette Butts in Unauthorized Areas

September 23, 2015 -- First and second year students in Amy Tixier’s Respiratory Therapy class spent an hour last week picking up cigarette butts on Main Campus found in unauthorized smoking areas
September 23, 2015

“There were literally thousands of them, indicating that people are not following the CNM rules about smoking in only designated smoking locations,” Tixier said. She added that the butts fill up five large plastic containers, which will be on display in the JS Building, during the CNM Health Fair on Oct. 2 and at the American Lung Association (ALA) Lung Force Walk Nov 14.

The Lung Force Walk is a new national movement in which friends, family, neighbors and colleagues join teams and walk to raise funds for the ALA. The CNM students will be selling raffle tickets at the walk and beforehand that will allow people to guess how many cigarette butts are in the canisters. The individuals who guess the closest will win a gift basket full of ALA merchandise and a $100 Visa gift card. Money raised through the raffle sales will go to the ALA, where it will be used for cancer research.

Jimmy Penner, president of the CNM Respiratory Therapy Student Organization, said over the next few weeks the respiratory therapy students will be counting the butts but will not announce the number until after the Lung Force Walk. The area of the cigarette butt search spanned from the North parking lot to the Student Services Center and from the JS Building to Smith Brasher Hall.

“We did this to raise awareness that CNM is not the smoke-free campus we want it to be,” Penner said.

Tixier said she got the idea for the cigarette butt collection at a conference she attended during the summer and crafted it to meet CNM’s mission.

For more information about the Lung Force Walk or raffle, contact Nancy DeAlmeida at or (505) 377-3799 or Jimmy Penner at or (620) 719-0064.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of both women and men in America. Some 400,000 Americans living today have been diagnosed with lung cancer. Nearly 160,000 Americans die of lung cancer each year. Fifty percent of Americans won’t be alive one year after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Approximately two-thirds of people diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked or are former smokers.