NKU backs up tobacco ban with programs for quitting


Photo by Tony Root

While banned since January, smoking on campus still occurs. NKU’s policy is being strengthened through programs to help smokers quit.

The recent policy change in January has banned all tobacco products from campus. What many on campus seem to be unaware of is NKU has created programs to educate smokers and encourage quitting . Kim Baker, the Employee Wellness Manager, spoke about the policy and the Quit Now Kentucky programs.

“I don’t think they ever thought on the start date of the policy it was going to be 100 percent successful. We have support here. We know it’s an addiction; a very strong addiction,” Baker said.

Any current NKU faculty, staff, or student can receive free products and services that will help make quitting easier.  

From nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patches and lozenges), to a personalized quit plan, there are options available at no cost. It is a plan that seeks to take an active and educational role in helping those who wish to quit.

“We are rooting for you. We want you to quit, and help you to quit!” Baker said.

But there are other resources available on campus as well. Once a month, NKU has the Healthy Monday Quit Clinic open to everyone. As a Repertory Care Therapist here at NKU, Debbie Patten has provided a wealth of information to current smokers about the advantages of quitting.

“Our main goal is to provide an opportunity for folks that are smoking to have a non-judgmental conversation about quitting,” Patten said.

Using several machines designed to measure lung performance and damage. Lung age, carbon monoxide levels, pulmonary function, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) screening are just a few of the tests any smoker can have evaluated on the spot.  The next clinic will be in the Student Union Lobby on Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

These informal clinics are about spreading awareness of the damaging effects of smoking, as well as the benefits of quitting.

“Even if they don’t want to do any of the lung assessments, we want them to be aware of what’s available to them,” Patten said. She went on to discuss the benefits of quitting.  “You can typically expect three days for the nicotine to get out of your system.  You might feel like you need to cough more than when you were smoking, because you were paralyzing your lungs.  You are actually feeling your lungs healing and working out all that damage that’s occurred!”  And this is not atypical.  Patten continued, saying many feel worse at first because they are becoming aware of all the strain the body is starting to undo.

With The Quit Now Kentucky and Healthy Monday Quit Clinics working in tandem, there are many assets available to any current faculty, staff, or students who wish to look into ending their tobacco use. There is also literature and additional information available in the Wellness Center for any who may be interested.