HURRICANE HEALTHWATCH: Help available for smokers trying to quit

Dear Hurricane,
I graduate and enter the workforce in May. Unfortunately, I smoke; however, I am considering quitting. I understand smoking is not permitted in workplaces and I am concerned how it will look to my new bosses if I take regular cigarette breaks. I realize community smoking cessation services can be quite costly. A couple years ago I tried quitting cold turkey, but it didn’t work. This time, I’m thinking about getting some help. Are there resources on campus to help students quit?

Smoky Joe

Dear Smoky Joe,
Smoking is becoming more and more of a hassle for smokers. Fortunately, you are in luck. UM has several smoking cessation options for students. The Wellness Center offers the BeSmokeFree program.
BeSmokeFree is a six-week, seven-session comprehensive smoking cessation program that includes various activities, guest speakers, and complimentary therapies (hypnosis, acupuncture, massage, etc.). If you’re not interested in sitting through a program, free half-hour peer-education sessions with quit kits also are available.
Further, the Wellness Center’s STRIKE team regularly provides outreach with tips on quitting. The Health Center provides nicotine replacement therapy, i.e. patch and gum, as well as prescription medication, and provider counseling sessions. Once thought to be a crutch, research now supports the use of nicotine replacement and prescription therapies. It will make the quitting process much easier for you. My suggestion to you is to combine the services of both departments.
However, if you don’t have the time to seek these services or think you may succeed best by just quitting on your own, the following tips may help. Tips for Smoking Cessation:
1. Select a quit date.
2. Prepare for the quit date by telling everyone you know that you are quitting.
3. As you get closer to the quit date, reduce the number of cigarettes and/or switch brands to a light brand or one with lower nicotine/tar. Begin throwing out smoking paraphernalia such as ashtrays and lighters.
4. Try figuring out what your smoking triggers are and changing your behavior to avoid triggers. For example, if you always light up at a particular stop sign on your way to school, try changing your route.
5. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, exercise and get adequate sleep.
6. If stressed, attend the Counseling Center’s Stress Management class, held every Tuesday at 1 p.m., or consider signing up for yoga classes.
Many people in the process of quitting smoking are concerned about weight gain. The Wellness Center has several programs to help prevent this. My advice is to sign-up for the CHAMP program. The CHAMP program is a free fitness and lifestyle assessment.
A peer educator will review the assessment and make recommendations and referrals based on your results. Follow the CHAMP program with the free ‘Cane Quick Fit Program that sets students on a fitness program in the fitness room. Lastly, consider using our nutritional educational services.
For more information on any of these services, call 305-284-6524.

Jennifer Pruchniewski

Jennifer Pruchniewski is a senior majoring in marine biology. She works in the Wellness Suite and is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha.