Thanks to a federal grant from "Communities Putting Prevention to Work," University Health, Wellness, Counseling and Disability Access Services is offering a variety of aids to help students, faculty and staff quit smoking.

Katie Moore wants to be your cheerleader. The health educator and tobacco specialist wants to help you quit smoking. And she is willing to counsel you one-on-one and meet with you regularly until you stop. Free.

Since the new smoke-free policy went into effect July 1 on the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus, Moore has been working to get her message out. The policy prohibits smoking anywhere on campus, both indoors and out.

“We offer free smoking cessation classes, individual counseling, nicotine replacement patches and gum to students, faculty and staff,” said Moore, whose offices are located in University Health, Wellness, Counseling and Disability Access Services in the Millennium Student Center. “We also offer low cost prescription options for students. Faculty and staff should see their own doctors for a prescription.”

According to the American Lung Association, smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. causing 393,000 deaths per year. Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard for people of all ages and is estimated to cause close to 50,000 deaths each year.

Moore, who has gone through training with the American Lung Association, says the average smoker makes seven attempts to quit before he or she succeeds.

“Quitting is never clear cut, every one and every time is different,” she said. “I can give you lots of literature, suggestions, be your support group and your biggest cheerleader. If it works for you I will support it.”

Moore said there was little interest in smoking cessation classes offered at the beginning of the semester, but individual counseling is working. She will offer classes again in January and hopes to see a better turnout.

“Small group settings where people encourage one another can work for many people,” she said. “You discover you’re not the only one going through a certain stage.”

Moore’s education programs are funded by a grant, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, part of a $7.5 million grant to promote tobacco prevention and cessation efforts in St. Louis County. The grant was awarded to the county last spring by the Center for Disease Control. St. Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis received similar funding for prevention.

Watch for banners and posters all over campus with the message: Do It With A Friend: Quit Smoking.

Moore also looks forward to the first year of testing the success of UMSL’s no smoking efforts with the 2012 Missouri College Health Behavior Survey. Last year nearly 900 UMSL students completed the survey about alcohol, tobacco and drug use. The survey is distributed just before spring break. Students who complete the survey get a chance to win a UMSL Bookstore gift certificate.

“I’m hoping to see a difference after being smoke free for a year,” she said.

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Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel

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