As Smoke-Free Date Looms, Cessation Program Ramps Up


Posted by . See more posts about: Cessation, Smoke Free Policy


With Eastern’s campus slated to go tobacco-free this June, the university’s smoking cessation programs could see an increase in activity over the next few months, university officials said.

Last year, President Benson announced Eastern’s campus would become entirely tobacco-free beginning June 1, 2014. Since 2006, smoking has been limited to outside designated smoking areas, but Benson said in his announcement that more was needed to protect the health of the campus community.

Eastern’s smoking cessation programs have been available even before the decision was made to make the campus tobacco-free. The program, called the Cooper/Clayton Smoking Cessation Program, was started more than 25 years ago at the University of Kentucky by Dr. Thomas Cooper, a dentist who was once a smoker, and Dr. Richard Clayton, an expert on drug addiction. Cooper and Clayton worked together to create a successful program that could be used across the Commonwealth. They are now partnered with the Kentucky Cancer Program.

The Cooper/Clayton Program is offered to students and faculty at Eastern who wish to quit smoking. The program is also marketed to Eastern’s satellite campuses in Corbin, Manchester and Danville. The program offers various techniques to help participants quit, including nicotine replacement therapy. Participants are offered the nicotine patch, gum or lozenges and information about each one so they can decide which is more effective for them.

As part of the government’s healthcare reform, employee insurance programs are required to offer faculty and staff non-nicotine medications that help tobacco users quit. Eastern offers its employees Chantix and Bupropion for no copay, said Renee Fox, health benefits and wellness coordinator.

Peer support and educational video lessons are just a few of the other methods used to help participants quit smoking.

Fox said the program focuses on more than just smoking cessation methods.

“It’s also looking at stress management,” Fox said.

One of the reasons people smoke is to relieve stress, Fox said. Helping students and faculty get a better handle on their stress makes it easier for them to stay smoke-free. Sometimes people are afraid of the possible outcomes of quitting, such as weight gain, and the program offers nutritional guidance for that reason, she added.

Fox said because of the move toward a smoke-free campus, more students and faculty have shown interest in joining the free program. Those involved in the program have also been advertising it more by posting flyers all over campus, setting up table tents in Eastern’s dining facilities and sending out newsletters by email.

Fox said she has marketed the program during freshman orientations and some incoming freshmen have expressed their desire to quit smoking.

The classes are always being offered to students and faculty in a rotational pattern. Each section meets at a different place on campus where spaces can be conveniently booked. One class also meets at Baptist Health in Richmond. The Health Benefits and Wellness Department is located in the Coates building.

Fox expects interest to keep rising as June 1 approaches, although knowing how many people will join the programs is hard to say. Fox said she, along with Meghan Scott, the other coordinator of the program, will continue to teach the program as long as people still need assistance with quitting.

“As more people are interested in taking it, we will continue offering the class,” Fox said.

Read the full article online, here.