By: Jesse Hong ’14, University of Maryland Communications Major
The University of Maryland became a smoke-free institution as of July 1, 2013, joining over 1,000 higher education institutions across the country who have adopted similar policies.
University President, Wallace Loh, explains the rationale of the new policy this way:
“We have an obligation to our students, employees and visitors to provide a healthy and clean campus environment,” says President Loh. “I am pleased that the university is taking this significant stride to promote our community’s health and wellbeing, providing support to those who need it, and ensuring that all members of the campus community have the healthiest air possible to breathe.” (source)
This new policy provides an opportunity to support those who want help to quit smoking. Fortunately, there are considerable smoking cessation resources available on campus, such as those available at the University Health Center.
Meet Smoking Cessation Counselor Edie Anderson
Edie Anderson has worked for the University Health Center helping people quit smoking since 2007. Anderson offers free counseling, patches and gums, five acupuncture treatments and meditation to tackle the habit of smoking.
In the past year, Anderson worked with 32 smokers, and she was able to help all 32 smokers quit.
Anderson doesn’t disparage smokers or hunt them down. She is here for support and as an educational resource. She offers 8 tips for those who want to quit smoking.
8 Tips to Quit Smoking
- Define your intention for quitting. Think about why you want to quit and what motivates you to do so. Write it down and rate your motivation on a scale of 1 (not at all motivated) to 10 (extremely motivated).
- Identify triggers. What are you doing, who are you with, what time of day is it, and what are you feeling when you feel the urge to smoke? Recognize when you’ve encountered any of these triggers throughout your day and redirecting your energy is key.
- Make a “Quit Kit”. It’s important to identify new, healthy ways to comfort yourself while you quit smoking. Think about including the following in your kit: gum, mint or cinnamon stick/candy, flavored toothpicks, a smooth stone, puzzle, art materials, soothing music – anything that will serve as a healthy alternative or distraction.
- Enlist support. Reach out to family and friends you trust to help you along this journey. You can also seek support from a smoking cessation counselor trained to help you reach your goal of becoming smoke free.
- Take advantage of quit lines and online resources. A quitline is a tobacco cessation service available through a toll-free telephone number. One well-regarded quitline is 1-800–QUIT-NOW. Reputable online resources include SmokeFree.gov, MDQuit, American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association.
- Focus on the positive. Recall achievements or personal strengths that you are proud of and write them down. Seek out new positive experiences- exercise, re-discover an old hobby, or learn something new – anything that connects you to something you are passionate about.
- Set the date and time of your last cigarette to be smoked. Take note of what that looks and feels like. If you see it and believe it, you can do it.
- Live in the present. Let go of outcomes and enjoy your sense of well-being in every moment of real time.
For members of the Maryland community, every resource Anderson offers through the University Health Center is free of charge. Learn more about the services available and make an appointment to receive free professional help.
Share with us! Have you successfully quit smoking or are currently in the process? Share what has worked for you.