Countywide programs to ease people off smoking

Jessica Sprowl

First 15 students get free nicotine therapy

Nearly 25 percent of Portage County adults smoke. The Portage County Tobacco Prevention Coalition is trying to lower that percentage.

Starting tomorrow, Kent State’s program “Planning for Health Promotion” has joined the prevention coalition and the American Lung Association’s “Freedom From Smoking” program.

It will be putting on an eight-week cessation program for students and faculty who wish to stop smoking, said Melissa Flaherty, a health promotion graduate student.

The first meeting will be from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Student Center, room 321. The whole program is free, and the classes will meet every Thursday for the next eight weeks, she said.

The first 15 students to sign up for the “Freedom From Smoking” program will receive eight weeks worth of free nicotine replacement therapy, Flaherty said.

The American Lung Association trained two students to head the Kent State program, Flaherty said.

“We really want to educate students. It’s a nice way for students to support each other, especially in college,” she said, “A lot of smoking habits begin in college.”

The eight-week program will teach students steps in how to quit smoking. In the first three weeks, students will be asked to set a quit date. The program will teach students how to cope with stress, benefits of quitting, weight control for students worried about weight gain, and eating habits once they quit.

“We’re excited about it,” Flaherty said, “Health resources are hard to come by. I hope people will consider doing it.”

Contact reporting public affairs reporter Jessica Sprowl at [email protected].