Resources available to kick your nicotine addiction

Throughout the past few years, vaping and other forms of tobacco usage has become popular for college students. This habit, however, contains underlying issues that many may seem to ignore.

Mary Kramer, Advisor for the Community Health Education at MNSU, has been working to fully enforce the campus’ tobacco prohibition for the past four years. One way she was able to work on this was by creating a task force to help give quitting resources to students and staff.

“We received a grant from the American Cancer Society and CVS, and we clarified and updated our tobacco on campus policy. That went into effect Aug. 1 of 2020. We also really worked on amping up our resources for students and employees and community members that would like to quit. So, we’re very fortunate to have, because of this grant money, some free quit-kits, which are available to Student Health Services and the pharmacy,” Kramer explained.

These quit-kits were designed to include products and resources to help smokers kick the cravings and quit. In these kits, there were worry stones, flavored tea, flavored gum and information about nicotine replacement therapy. 

Kramer hosts a free monthly coaching session for people who are looking to quit nicotine and tobacco, as she understands that these meetings can be useful for everyone.

“What I’ve been doing is these monthly coaching sessions on Zoom. Sometimes it helps to just talk to a real person and I’m actually willing to meet one-on-one with someone too, I’m happy to do that.”

Another useful and accessible resource included in the kits was the phone number to a vaping text program named This is Quitting, created by the Truth Initiative. 

“There’s a vaping texting program that has been very successful. It’s like a self-help texting program that tailors just for you, what is going to be your best chances [to quit],” Kramer stated. 

Cecilia Schafer is a recent MNSU graduate, who worked with Kramer on this program and is now a health educator with the Student Health Services on campus.

“I was a research assistant for the grant that she [Kramer] wrote to make the policy stronger. We had one, but it just wasn’t very effective. In my time researching, we found out that everyone was on the same page, most staff and most students want no smoking on campus,” Schafer commented. 

While running the program, one event that took place was a vape trade-in, where students and staff who sacrificed their vape were able to receive a gift card. In this event last November, approximately 42 people participated. After turning in their vaping device, the participants received some coaching and resource tips.

“We know that just turning in your vape is just one small step, there’s many others to get through. At least the first three to seven days are the toughest for people,” Kramer stated.

One problem both Kramer and Schaefer pointed out was the difficulty behind enforcing the tobacco policy on campus.

“That one’s tricky because the only thing that we can really do now is help offer quitting resources. The main enforcement needs to come from the people who are in charge of themselves,” Schaefer stated. 

Schaefer understands the struggles that come with quitting nicotine, as she has had to quit smoking twice. Her biggest inspiration for quitting was how it would improve her health.

“The biggest helper for me was just tracking as you go. Here’s what’s happening in your body in a month, here’s three months. Those first two weeks are really hard without the nicotine,” Schaefer pointed out.

She also encourages students to take the same step as her and quit smoking.

“It’s hard, but it’s do-able. It’s one of those things once you do it and get through the really hard part, it’ll feel a lot easier to not get sucked back in.”

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