Walk the Path to Becoming Nicotine Free

A Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” With the MSU Breathe Easy: Tobacco and Nicotine Cessation Program, starting the journey to becoming nicotine free doesn’t have to be done alone.

The MSU Breathe Easy: Tobacco and Nicotine Cessation program (formerly known as the Smoking Cessation Program) sponsored by Human Resources, Olin Health Center Pharmacy Services and Health4U began in January 2008. The program assists participants in eliminating any nicotine addiction through behavior support sessions, with or without the use of prescription medications. Items the program focuses on include: cigarettes, cigars, patches and e-cigarettes.

“Removing tobacco is helpful, but nicotine is the addictive property.” said Bonnie Seaks, physician’s assistant and medical support provider for the Tobacco and Nicotine Cessation Program. “Relapse is more likely when people are still using nicotine products.”

“People use nicotine for a variety of reasons, including as a meal replacement, an energy boost, eating less or in place of a snack,” said Peggy Crum, nutritionist for the Tobacco and Nicotine Cessation program.

The program runs 15 months with testing conducted at three months and at the end of the program to determine if participants are nicotine free.

“We hold the program to a high standard,” Crum said. “We believe the participants when they say they have quit nicotine. They are very honest with us, but we do need numbers to verify the success of the program.”

According to Crum, other programs without data are considered less reliable

More than 20 program participants have been nicotine free for a year or more and come from various walks of life at MSU, including faculty, administration, graduate student employees, and more.

MSU supports the use of personal, vacation or sick accruals to participate in the program, though it is up to individual departments and supervisors to determine the procedure for the use of that time. The prescription medications used in the program Chantix® or Zuban® (Bupropion) is now a covered benefit for MSU employees.

Registration for the MSU Breathe Easy: Tobacco and Nicotine Cessation Program takes place in the fall and spring semesters at MSU. To register, you must attend a pre-enrollment orientation. Registration can be done in person at 330 Olin Health Center, by phone at 517-353-2596, or by email at health4u@msu.edu.

Each pre-enrollment orientation session is provided at no cost.  Pre-enrollment orientation for the fall is Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 1:30 p.m.- 3:30 p.m., in the Olin Health Center classroom (room 247). To find out more information visit http://health4u.msu.edu/breathe_easy_msu.htm.

“We acknowledge that this isn’t an easy process,” Crum said. “But participants will breathe easier in the end.”

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