Students defeat their smoking habit thanks to the Freshstart Quit Smoking Program

Kristina Thomas, Feature Writer

During October, students had a chance to join the Freshstart Quit Smoking Program. Katherine Winters, Graduate Assistant of Fitness and Wellness, and Jennifer Turpin, Assistant Director of Fitness and Wellness facilitated this group. Freshstart is a group-based tobacco support program offered by the American Cancer Society. To implement the program, a representative at your school or job must complete the Freshstart facilitator training.

“The training was awesome,” Winters said. “To my surprise for many participants, their personal health wasn’t an incentive. They wanted to quit because of their family, friends and children. However, most people don’t graduate the program. The important thing for these participants isn’t just to start but to keep going. ”

Winters and Turpin both went through training to become facilitators for this program. They’ve planned activities and sessions and provided resources for the group.

“We found out about this program though Montgomery County,” Turpin said. “They were offering free training for the sessions. We thought this would be a good way to help people who are trying to quit, getting out of their comfort zone. Some people just need the encouragement.”

“The program consisted of four sessions, once a week during the lunch hour,” Winters said. “We outlined why stopping smoking is very difficult, different angles participants can take to quit and for the future situations to be prepared for, such as relapse. It’s usual for it to take a person five to seven times prior to finally quitting for good. It’s important not to be judgmental but to encourage people and let them know that each time they try they are that much closer to quitting.”

According to a Community Health Assessment by Montgomery County, 31 percent of people 12 and older use tobacco products, and, among current smokers, 15 percent smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day. Smoking is also a major cause of cancer, heart disease, bronchitis, emphysema and stroke. Freshstart uses evidence-based components to help those who want to stop smoking by providing motivation, intervention activities, practical counseling (problem solving skills), social support, ad education about medication and approaches to quitting.

“We will be offering this program again during the spring time,” Winters said. “At that time we are looking to place students as facilitators because participants will be able to relate better.”

They will also be working on the Great American Smokeout, which will be in the Union Market, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 14. It focuses on adults who want to quit smoking. For more information about the Freshstart Program contact Rec-Fit@wright.edu.

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