Students kick the habit one by one:2 min read

Counseling program helps students quit smoking



SMOKE OUT – Students voluntarily submitted their cigarette packs to the Health Services at the Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 15, 2012

Rachel Schemel

The De Anza College Health Center is helping students quit smoking with one-on-one counseling for the masses free of charge every Wednesday and Thursday.
The smoking cessation program offers students a personalized way to quit in a supportive environment at no cost, said Mary Sullivan, Health Education and Wellness Director. “The program success is all student driven.”
The program helped nearly 100 students quit smoking so far, she said.
Eric Gibson, a De Anza student, joined the program to quit a habit he started as a minor.
He said he heard about the program through flyers placed at a smoking area on campus. Motivated by the new year, Gibson joined the program and enrolled in some physical education classes.
“It’s an easy in and an easy out,” Gibson said. “No guilt trips.”
Nicotine replacement therapy and one-to-one counseling are available to any enrolled De Anza student free of charge, according to the De Anza website.
At the first appointment, a Health Service provider explains the program’s policy and the students’ responsibilities. Counseling hours are set to fit the student’s schedule, said Sullivan.
Students can meet with four different counselors who prescribe cessation plans based on smoking habits.
Students keep daily logs of their smoking habits to find triggers they can eliminate.
“Write it down,” said Sullivan. “That’s what makes the difference.”
The quick-quit kit is filled with gum, suckers, toothpicks and even soap bubbles to help curb nicotine cravings for students who register for the program.  
The program had 49 students last year and began with 10 students this year.
Students in the process of quitting or who have quit are eligible for the Wilma Wolgast scholarship of $500. “In her memory we are hoping to help students kick the smoking habit,” according to Foothill-De Anza scholarship website.
A one-page essay explaining the smoker’s quitting process is all that is needed along with an unofficial De Anza grade transcript.  
Applicants must have completed at least 24 units at De Anza by the end of Fall 2012 and be enrolled in at least 6 units at De Anza.
 “I started smoking when I was 16 years old and smoked for over 30 years,” said Tamsen Kelly, a student and tutor at De Anza.
Kelly said the program helped her to not only quit but to stay quit.
“I went through the treatment twice because I started smoking again during finals week,” Kelly said. “The idea is not to give up.”

BEHAVIOR CHANGE – Students are provided with free Nicotine patches and a “quick quit kit” to distract themselves. (MARIAH BRAVO / LA VOZ WEEKLY)