Resources Offered to Help Those Ready to Give Up Tobacco

Glenda Poynter had tried to quit.

She managed to kick the tobacco habit when she was pregnant, only to return.

“I beat myself up every day, saying I needed to quit.”

But when Eastern offered classes in the Cooper/Clayton tobacco cessation program, she told herself, “I’ll do it on my own, which wasn’t true, because I couldn’t.”

She eventually concluded that the class was her only hope, and time has proven her right.

“I’m not saying it’s easy,” she allowed, “because it’s not. But if you give it a try, I think you can do it. I did it, and I’m glad I did.”

 See more about Glenda Poynter

The University now offers two programs designed to help employees kick their tobacco habits: the 13-week Cooper-Clayton program (one hour a week) and the American Cancer Society’s Fresh Start program, which can be taken in two weeks (two sessions a week) or four weeks (one session a week).

Earlier this year, EKU enacted a policy prohibiting the use of tobacco products on campus. “While we are not asking employees and students to quit tobacco use, we are here to help them quit if they are ready,” said Renee Fox, wellness program coordinator for the University. “We provide a variety of resources and support.”

Through the Cooper/Clayton program, all students and employees can receive free nicotine replacement therapy – gum, patches or lozenges. All employees, as well as spouses and dependents, on EKU health insurance can also receive the five FDA-approved forms of nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patches, sprays, inhalers and lozenges) and two non-nicotine replacement medications (bupropion/generic brand and Chantix) for free.

The Cooper/Clayton program, Fox said, combines the nicotine replacement therapy with group support and emphasizes healthy behavior changes – stress management, healthy eating, physical activity, etc.

“It’s important to address other healthy lifestyles when becoming a non-smoker,” Fox said. “Often smokers worry about gaining weight when quitting tobacco use, and this program helps avoid or minimize that worry by encouraging participants to increase activity levels and select healthy snacks when they have cravings.”

The Cooper/Clayton program is also offered throughout the region to assist EKU regional campus employees and for the convenience of those who live in other communities. In addition to classes on the Richmond campus and at Baptist Health Hospital in Richmond, classes are available in Corbin, Danville, Hazard, Lancaster, Lexington (three locations), Manchester, and Somerset.

“The Fresh Start Program focuses on planning a successful quit attempt, equipping participants to select a quit date and develop a personalized plan to help them succeed,” Fox said. “It also evaluates the different options to help them quit and addresses relapse prevention. This program can be taken before the Cooper-Clayton program if this method is selected as the right option for the individual planning to quit.”

And what if you’ve tried a tobacco cessation program to no avail? Well, you’re hardly alone.

Research shows that it takes eight to 10 attempts to successfully quit tobacco. (As Poynter said, it’s not easy.) “We always welcome participants to come back and try the program again if it didn’t work the first time.”

Classes are offered every fall, spring and summer. For more information about all the tobacco cessation resources available at EKU, visit wellness.eku.edu/tobacco-cessation or call 622-7218.

The campus will participate in the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 20 (11 a.m.-1 p.m., Kennamer Room, Powell Building), when employees and students will be asked to take one of the following pledges:

·         Quit tobacco for a day

·         Quit tobacco forever

·         Support a quitter by giving up something for a day or forever

·         Support the University’s tobacco-free policy by informing others the campus is 100 percent tobacco-free (pick up some policy message cards to help spread the word)

Pledge takers will receive a free t-shirt and bowl of turkey chili. “We’ll also have birthday cake to encourage folks to celebrate more birthdays,” Fox said. “Quitting tobacco use adds years back to your life.”

Published on November 18, 2014

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