“‘Hoos Kicking It?” aims to combat nicotine addiction
Six-week program to help University employees overcome smoking addictions kicks off Thursday
The Nursing School and Hoo’s Well, the University’s comprehensive wellness program, have teamed up to present “Hoo’s Kicking It?” — a six-week program to help University employees quit smoking.
Janie Heath, associate dean for academic programs at the Nursing School and one of the program’s primary organizers, said the “Hoo’s Kicking it?” sprung out of a perceived responsibility to employees.
“The incentive is our commitment, responsibility and opportunity for the School of Nursing to partner with the Hoo’s Well program so we can promote health wellness for our employees,” Heath said.
Heath said the program specifically targets the three aspects of nicotine addiction: the behavioral, the emotional and the physical cycles.
“The behavioral cycle is a hand to mouth addiction, so we focus on what can be substituted instead of picking up a cigarette … for example, carrot sticks [or] chewing on straws,” Heath said. Program coordinators recommend exercise and meditation to break the emotional cycle of nicotine addiction and medication to end the physical addiction.
“We take a comprehensive approach to help our employees quit,” Heath said.
Of the 12,000 University employees, a biometric screening showed 26 percent currently use tobacco. Heath said the University goal for tobacco use is aligned with that of national standards. “The [Centers for Disease Control] sets the standard for tobacco [use],” she said. “Hopefully by 2020, the prevalence rate will not be any higher than 12 percent.”
Coordinators say the program will be confidential and personalized for participants. Benefits for participants will include weekly blood pressure and carbon monoxide monitoring, customized treatment plans, weekly evaluations and tobacco cessation medication recommendations.