News

Great American Smokeout plans to kick some butts

The Wellness Center, along with the assistance of the STRIKE team, will sponsor luncheons to prepare smokers for the Great American Smokeout.
“If students are interested in quitting, they can see if they are ready to make the next step to quit permanently,” said Janet Tiberian, Wellness Center assistant director.
During the luncheons, non-smokers will adopt smokers and join them for lunch.
Jennifer Pinto, assistant director of employee wellness, will provide participants with techniques and tips to help smokers give up smoking for a 24-hour period on Nov. 21 in celebration of the Great American Smokeout.
Pinto could not be reached for comment.
Some students feel that the luncheons will be beneficial.
Others feel that the luncheon could be inspiring, but may prove to be ineffective.
“I think it’s a good idea but I don’t think it will really work,” freshman Susan Dilonzo, a periodic smoker, said. “A big factor is that everyone smokes [at UM] – it makes it hard to stop.”
“The luncheon sounds non-threatening,” Mima Isabirye said. “I am trying to quit myself.”
The Great American Smokeout began in 1971 when a Massachusetts resident asked people to give up smoking for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a local high school.
The Californian American Cancer Society picked up the idea in 1976, and one million smokers quit for the day.
The idea went national in 1977 and is held on the third Thursday of November each year.
Besides preparations for the Great American Smokeout, The Wellness Center offers a variety of other programs throughout the year.
According to Wellness Center staff, the Be Smoke-Free program helps smokers find ways to quit smoking.
The program, formerly known as Kick the Habit, offers pharmacological treatments, quit kits, group support, acupuncture and hypnosis in addition to seven sessions which inform participants of ways to deal with quitting, held over a six-week period.
The center revamped the program to appeal more to students.
“Since we have began remarketing the program we have seen an increase in student interest,” Tiberian said.
Senior Shani Simpson, a non-smoker, thinks the program is beneficial.
“It’s an initiative that can help students reap benefits for their long term health benefits,” Simpson said.
The program costs $84 and all UM health care plan members will receive a voucher worth $12 for each classroom session they attend.
According to those involved with the program, efforts to obtain state funding for fee waivers are still pending.
To learn more about the Be Smoke Free program, the luncheons being offered, or other programs at the Wellness Center, contact Jennifer Pinto at (305) 243-3209 or visit www.miami.edu/besmokefree.

November 8, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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