Smoking cessation classes offered at Pennington Center

With the non-smoking policy in effect on campus, the university provides a weekly free class for those who wish to quit.

 “The class is for them,” said Tammy L. Swindle, M.A., C.H.E.S. executive director. “My goal is to help them to become smoke-free on campus or to quit.”

According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, nine out of 10 smokers started at age 18, and 99 percent started by the age of 26. 17.3 percent of smokers were ages 18-24 and 21.6 percent were ages 25-44.  

One of the problems with smoking is it is not only a physical addiction, but it is a mental issue. 

“Many people think addictions are physical, and it’s really not,” said Swindle. “It’s more emotional. People smoke when they’re stressed or when they’re bored. The physical aspect is only a very small part of it.”

The class offers an environment where you are able to work at your own pace, not forced or pushed to quit, as well as provide discussions on why you may want to quit and ways to reach this goal.  

“People come, learn and work at their own pace,” said Swindle. “I don’t have expectations that they quit by the fourth, fifth or 10th week. Hopefully they do end up quitting. Some of the reasons some of the people in the class are choosing to quit smoking is for money, health, family and the new laws coming into Southeastern.”

One of the other problems that smoking may cause for college students is that it can possibly cause mental disorders. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also released a 25-year old study which concluded that “smoking is connected with several mental health disorders in adolescents and young adults. Heavy smokers were 6.8 times more likely to develop anxiety, had 5.5 times the risk of generalized anxiety disorder and 15.6 times the risk of developing panic disorder than non-smokers and light smokers.”

According to the College Tobacco Prevention Resource website, smoking has been associated with suicidal tendencies and college students who smoke daily are five times more likely to attempt suicide or seriously think about it. Also, college students have higher rates of respiratory infections, asthma and higher incidence of bacterial meningitis. Of the 15 million college students in the United States, it is estimated that 1.7 million will die of smoking-related illnesses. This amounts to an average of over 10% of college students.

Along with the smoking cessation class, certain medications can help those who are wishing to quit smoking deal with and may even prevent withdrawal. These medications range from patches, gum or pills. Also, you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free, read the Quit Guide offered on the CDC page or sign up to receive free text to help you quit by sending the text QUIT to 47484.

The smoking classes will be offered once a week on the first floor of the Pennington Student Activity Center. If you are unable to attend, a child or spouse may attend and bring the information home for you.