Health Center holds smoking cessation programs

Celina Hutchens

Pat Iafelice, sophomore justice studies major, smokes outside Tri-Towers yesterday. Iafelice said he has been smoking since seventh grade and started because it was something he wasn’t allowed to do at the time. AMANDA SOWARDS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Mark Twain once said, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.”

Twain may have had troubles, but Kent State smokers looking to quit have some help.

DeWeese Health Center and University Health Services offers the American Cancer Society-funded Freshstart program, which helps students, faculty and staff to stop smoking.

The three-step program lets participants choose their options on quitting smoking and gives the opportunity to work around schedules so everyone succeeds.

Scott Dotterer, coordinator of student health promotion at DeWeese, started the Freshstart program about four years ago.

He said the hour-long, one-on-one consultation program goes over strategies to quit smoking and outlines a plan of success to being healthy and free of nicotine.

“It’s up to the person to find what’s best for them and their lifestyle,” Dotterer said.

Anyone willing to participate can make appointments alone or with a group of people. The participants are then facilitated through the program by Dotterer or a trained student of the program.

“This is the type of program where you want to have dialog, not just straight lecture,” he said.

The Freshstart program costs $5 for students and $10 for faculty and staff.

Dotterer said smoking is a constant identification of obstacles and this program is designed to help the smoker avoid those obstacles.

Findings from the Alcohol and Drug Survey, conducted at Kent State in June 2004, revealed that 61 percent of Kent State students do not smoke. Eleven percent smoke occasionally, seven percent are experimental smokers and three percent are formal smokers. Only 18 percent of Kent State students smoke, and half of that number are trying to quit.

The American Cancer Society outlined four important factors in deciding how and when to quit.

The first is making the decision to quit. Others can influence decisions, but it is up to the smoker to make the final choice.

The second is setting a quit date. Picking a date too far in the future may possibly make the smoker second-guess his or her decision to quit.

The third is dealing with the withdrawal of nicotine. Physically, nicotine replacements can help reduce the urge, but mentally the smoker needs to stay positive.

The final factor is remaining smoke-free. This is the most important stage because everything that seemed so out of reach before is attainable.

Jamie Mason, library and information science graduate student, said he started smoking gradually, building up a tolerance to smoke and other outlets of nicotine.

“I was just around it all the time,” he said. “I’d smoke on my way to work and school. I just never got out of the environment.”

Mason said he started to smoke just because it was something to do. He said he tried to quit five or six times before finally quitting cold turkey.

“The worst thing is, is that there are still cravings – not as bad now, but there still are,” he said.

Statistics from the American Cancer Society show the average smoker relapses, or falls back into smoking, at least five or six times after trying to quit.

“When a person relapses, it is not a failure,” Dotterer said.

He said relapses lead to reflections, which are ways of remembering what was done wrong so it can be corrected for the future.

For those students or faculty members who choose a more confidential way to quit smoking, there is a Campus Quit Kit available free of charge at the health center.

This kit contains a step-by-step CD-ROM to quit smoking, a “Thinking About Quitting” booklet, information on nicotine replacements, a stress-relief bendy and candy.

So far, more than 50 kits have been given out since the beginning of fall semester, and there are about 50 more left to give.

For more information on the Freshstart program or the Quick Kit program, call the Office of Health Promotion at 330-672-8266 or contact Scott Dotterer directly at [email protected] to set up an appointment.

Contact medicine reporter Celina Hutchens at [email protected].