CYAN supports colleges and universities in their efforts to advocate for and provide tobacco cessation services to campus communities. Cessation services are an integral part of successful and comprehensive campus tobacco policies.
What is tobacco cessation?
Tobacco Cessation means to cease, stop or quit the use of tobacco products.
Why is tobacco hard to quit?
Tobacco contains nicotine, a psychoactive drug that products dependence. When a person uses nicotine, it changes their brain chemistry. Nicotine facilitates the release of dopamine, a pleasure chemical in the brain, which causes a person to want to continue to repeatedly use the drug. With continued use, a person will develop a tolerance to nicotine, which means that they need more and more nicotine to feel “normal.” Additionally, if a person stops using nicotine, the lack of the chemical’s presence in the brain will cause them to experience symptoms of withdrawal, such as headaches, irritability, anxiety, and depressed mood.
In addition to the biological mechanism of addiction, other factors also reinforce tobacco use. More people who use tobacco believe that it helps them cope with stress, boredom, and other feelings. They may also associate tobacco use with activities like driving, drinking coffee or alcohol, taking breaks, studying, or socializing. A person who is addicted to nicotine continues to use the drug despite negative consequences.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol, and most people who use tobacco are dependent on nicotine. Nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States. For more information on nicotine addiction, please visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
What is the benefit to quitting smoking while in college?
As stated in the Surgeon General’s Report released in December 2010, “Both the risk and the severity of many diseases caused by smoking are directly related to how long the smoker has smoked and the number of cigarettes smoked per day.” In short, the sooner a person quits tobacco, the better. Quitting early benefits all tobacco users, whether they are in college or not, but the experience of attending college offers a unique opportunity to promote tobacco cessation among young adults.
Once a person quits tobacco, they begin to experience many benefits of cessation. Health benefits begin within minutes or hours and continue to improve for years after a person has quit tobacco. Other Benefits include feeling in charge, feeling more relaxed, and looking and feeling better overall. In addition to a person’s health and well being, quitting tobacco while in college has economic benefits. Tobacco use can be costly, for example the average smoker spends nearly $2000 or more per year on cigarettes. Quitting tobacco sooner, rather than later can save a person thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
Why should colleges provide tobacco cessation services?
Colleges and universities should embrace the opportunity to support members of the campus community in tobacco cessation. An integral feature of successful tobacco policy is the availability of tobacco cessation services. Tobacco cessation programs can not only strengthen compliance with campus tobacco policy, but also show community leadership, and even make an impact on campus beautification.
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disability in the United States, and non-smokers who are regularly exposed to sceondhand smoke are also at increased risk for illness. Colleges and universities have responded by strengthening tobacco free policy and cessation services on campuses throughout California, and beyond. Strong tobacco policies foster a campus culture of health and well being for staff, faculty, and students on college and university campuses.
Colleges and Universities are respected and appreciated by their surrounding communities for showing leadership, innovation, and improving lives. Individuals often look to colleges and universities for information and inspiration. Colleges can demonstrate their commitment to the health and well being of the surrounding community by promoting tobacco cessation. This can be through a commitment to cessation services for students, staff, and faculty, or by the promotion of cessation resources in the community that can be accessed by anyone in the surrounding area.
Campus beautification is another benefit to helping people quit tobacco. Fewer people using tobacco means less tobacco-related litter. Considering that cigarette butts are the single most collected item in beach, river, and city cleanups each year, worldwide, the potential exists to see a dramatic impact on litter reduction on college campuses by helping people quit tobacco.
Will different groups on campus will need different services?
Students: Students generally receive health services at the campus student health center. Depending on staffing, cessation services are often provided by a health educator, nurse, or other medical provider. Sometimes, services for tobacco cessation are provided by psychological counseling services staff. Students can also access free tobacco cessation counseling by calling the California Smokers’ Helpline, a free telephone based services that offers tobacco cessation counseling at 1800-NO-BUTTS.
Student Veterans: An estimated 2.2 million veterans reside in California (the largest number in the nation). The number of Veterans who enroll in California universities and colleges is quickly rising as many take advantage of their post 9/11 GI Bill. Student Veterans have higher rates of tobacco use, and different tobacco cessation needs than civilian students. Colleges and Universities can provide cessation support through campus Veteran Centers as well as through the Health Services. For additional military tobacco cessation services and resources, please visit Project UNIFORM or the California Smokers’ Helpline, which offers culturally appropriate cessation services to student veterans and service members. Cessation information is also available at Quit Tobacco – Make Everyone Proud, a free Department of Defense service that offers live chat and other resources.
Staff and Faculty: Staff and faculty usually do not have access to services at the campus health center. Instead, they should seek tobacco cessation services with their primary medical provider, or with their Employee Assistance Program. Staff and faculty can also access free tobacco cessation counseling by phone with the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1800-NO-BUTTS.
Family, Friends, and Community: Whenever possible, campuses should make information available to the larger community of people who may not be on campus every day, but are still connected to the campus through others, or who may be geographically close to the campus. Promoting tobacco cessation to the greater community can be done with little effort by maintaining a website about tobacco use and cessation. A tobacco cessation website can offer information on the campus tobacco policy as well as information on cessation, links to local resources, phone counseling, and to reliable information on tobacco.
Even if a campus can not provide services to everyone, individuals can be directed to cessation services that they can access. This is important because young adults who quit tobacco are less likely to relapse if they have a non-smoking spouse, fewer friends who smoke, and one or no biological parents who smoke. Additionally, reducing the number of tobacco users in the surrounding community can change the social norm of tobacco use, and changing social norms in favor of not using tobacco supports cessation outcomes.
What are some ways to provide tobacco cessation services on campus?
What other resources are available?
Please visit our resources page to browse links to cessation services and information about tobacco.