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The Northerner

Thinking about kicking the habit?

Emily Lindeau

Emily Lindeau

Marina Schneider, Contributing writer

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If you or anyone that you know is ready to quit smoking but not sure how, you are not alone. Northern Kentucky University’s Wellness Center, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, provides a smoking cessation program for faculty, staff and students who want to quit.

Every year the Wellness Center sponsors The Great American Smokeout, a nationally recognized event that answers questions about quitting and offers resources and tools that people need to succeed in their journey to a healthier lifestyle. This year the event will be on Nov. 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Student Union lobby.

“We approach our smoking cessation messaging in a supportive light, offering students, faculty and staff the support they need to embrace their desire to quit and to find sustainable solutions in an affordable way, even at no cost,” said Rachel Bishop, student wellness manager.

Based on their recent research among 700 NKU students, Bishop said it is encouraging to know that 89 percent of the respondents do not currently smoke and of those who do smoke, 75 percent are interested in quitting.

“This data suggests that a majority of our student population is non-smoking and, of those who do smoke, a majority is interested in smoking cessation or reduction,” Bishop said.
While these numbers are good news for NKU’s student population, Kentucky still has the second highest adult smoking rate in the country, behind only West Virginia. According to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, each year nearly 8,000 people die in Kentucky from smoking-related diseases.

Far from lectures on smoking, Bishop said the Wellness Center is focused on prevention and help for ones who want to quit. For the Great American Smokeout event, students will have the opportunity to talk with a health coach, specialized in cessation support, and devise a plan that best fits their own pace in how to quit. In addition to that, a respiratory care specialist will be present to perform lung testing and asthma screenings. Non-smokers are welcome.

Bishop explained that the first step for a student who wants to quit smoking is stopping by the Wellness Center office located in Founders Hall 111. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The student will be offered a quit kit, a package with information about smoking therapy, tobacco cessation products and other things such as a fake dollar bill to remind them that saving money can be a real incentive to quit.

The quit kit also contains important information about the instant benefits acquired as soon as the smoker quits, and it can be a real motivation. For example, only 20 minutes after quitting smoking, a person’s blood pressure can drop to a normal rate.

After the student has made a commitment to quit, the center will direct them to free programs available within the community, including the popular Cooper-Clayton method offered online or through in-person meetings.

Bishop said that the event always attracts more students and the fact that this year’s date is closer to the holidays may help students make the decision to quit as a New Year’s resolution.
The Wellness Center also creates informational videos about smoking cessation on YouTube and Facebook.

For more information about free online resources on how to quit smoking, please visit http://wellness.nku.edu/tobaccopolicy.html.

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