Campus programs are available to assist students, faculty and staff struggling with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s new tobacco-free policy or those who wish to stop smoking altogether.
Smoking cessation help is available to students through the University Health Center, while the university’s Employee Assistance Program offers related programs to faculty and staff.
The university prohibited the use of all smoking, tobacco and vaping products on its properties starting Jan. 1. The policy grew from a student-led initiative. It received wide-spread support in a survey of the campus community, with 83.8 percent of students and 88.4 percent of faculty/staff affirming the need for restrictive smoking policies at Nebraska.
In response to the smoking ban initiative, the University Health Center started offering “Quit Kits” in October. Available for free to students, the kits include chewing gum, tea bags with specially formulated “Quit Tea,” a stress ball, lip balm, an activity book and information about smoking cessation tactics and resources.
“The kits are designed as an easy and accessible resource to help students affected by the smoking ban on campus,” said Britt Otte, clinic manager for the health center. “They’re designed to provide some basic education about where to start with smoking cessation and some really quick, easy and cheap ways to help them manage.”
Students needing additional assistance with smoking cessation can contact Counseling and Psychological Services. The program offers four free individual counseling sessions to students who pay university program and facilities fees.
Faculty and staff can seek smoking cessation-specific counseling through the Employee Assistance Program. The counseling, led by Kyla Gorji, can be held in a group setting, with a friend or through individual sessions.
“Smoking is an interesting addiction because it has so many facets to it,” Gorji said. “Some use it to relax while others use it for stimulation. It’s really difficult to quit because it can mean multiple behavioral changes — from avoiding friends who smoke to being agitated because your hands have nothing to do — on top of withdrawal symptoms from the physical addiction.
“Because it is such a difficult habit to quit, we leave it up to each person to decide if they can do it on their own or if they would like help in a group or with a friend.”
Program participants receive printed materials and educational information about nicotine addiction. The program helps identify specific triggers for why participants smoke and outlines coping strategies for stress. Areas of discussion may include various strategies for quitting, medications for withdrawal symptoms, and ideas for lifestyle changes to improve their chances for success. The education offers a supportive atmosphere, accountability and learning from the personal experience of others.
The next smoking and/or tobacco cessation group meets Feb. 12. Group sessions are Mondays during the lunch hour, noon to 1 p.m. in the East Union. on Mondays over lunch from 12-1 at the East Campus Union.
Faculty and staff looking to stop smoking can call EAP at 402-472-3107 and request smoking cessation assistance or register for the next group session.
Other smoking cessation options open to the entire campus community include:
The Tobacco Cessation Clinic — Located in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry, the clinic offers individual counseling and follow-up sessions as needed. Clients are treated through a combination of drug therapy and one-on-one counseling.
Tobacco Free Nebraska — Offers 24/7 access to cessation coaching via phone call and access to self-help materials, Learn more by calling 800-784-8669.
This is Quitting app — Available for free, the app offers support from individuals who have quit smoking. It also allows for sharing of experiences with others who are also trying to quit using tobacco-related products. Users can be anonymous.
Smokefree.gov — Website that offers Smoke TXT, a six- to eight-week text messaging program to support smoking cessation efforts. Also allows users to create a customized quit plan and learn if nicotine-replacement therapy is a good option.
University Health Center pharmacy — Can fill medical prescriptions as needed, including those for cessation products.