SHS receives quit smoking grant

The UW-Eau Claire Student Health Service recently received a grant from the American Lung Association in Wisconsin for a tobacco cessation program to encourage students to quit smoking.

The money allows SHS to give students free nicotine patches to students. Katie Wilson, a health educator with SHS, said if someone doesn’t smart smoking before the age of 26, the chances of them starting is very slim.

“We know a lot of our students do want to quit smoking,” Wilson said. “Anything we can do to help them quit, you know reduce the cost barrier for using medication, anything like that is something we definitely want to do.”

The program requires students to meet with a health educator for a counseling session to discuss the reasons why the person began smoking, why they want to quit smoking and the best time to try to quit smoking.

Seniors Demetrius Evans and Bridgid Manion both said smoking is an expensive habit they are looking to quit before graduating.

“They are practically throwing nicotine patches at my face,” Evans said. “Yeah, yeah I’m going to take advantage of that. Let me get those for free.”

Evans, who is considering going into law, said she wants to drop the habit before her life becomes more stressful.

“I think it goes down to the student who would be ready to stop smoking,” Evans said. “As of the moment I am not ready to stop smoking.”

Wilson said SHS wants students to quit, but wants them to successfully quit on their own terms, which is why the program requires counseling.

“When we meet with students we really emphasize that pick a date that works for you,” Wilson said. “If someone came in and said they wanted to quit smoking, I wouldn’t say let’s do it today.”

The program gives students Step 1, 2 and 3 patches. Wilson said people typically use each step for two weeks, but students can stay on each step for as long as they need. Meaning the program will continue until SHS runs out of Step 1 patches.

There is a variety of medication options for quitting smoking. Wilson said the patches are a “middle of the road cost option,” which allows the university to help the greatest number of students.

Wilson said only four students have signed up so far, but for any students interested in quitting this is an opportunity for free on campus medicine and counseling.

Information Wilson said she shares with students is when trying to quit, a craving only last three to five minutes. Educating themselves will further assist them in quitting.

“Doing that preparation work, making a plan, knowing what’s going to happen to your body, learning from the success from others, I think is really key,” Wilson said.