It is not uncommon to see a smoker inhaling tobacco between classes, which is why CU is helping students quit the habit for the next month.
The Student Wellness Program is holding a contest from Oct. 18 to Nov. 16 to help students quit smoking. The “Quit and Win,” as it is called, is asking a smoker to stay smoke-free with the help of a non-smoking friend and the Student Wellness Program.
The reward? Those who make it to the end of the month without a single cigarette are eligible for a $500 gift certificate for the Student Travel Agency, and their friends are eligible for a $100 gift card for Flatiron Crossing mall.
“Best case scenario, they’ll quit this month, find out what triggers their cravings, and stay quit for life,” said Anne Reinhart, the coordinator for the Student Wellness Program.
At a kick-off meeting Oct. 16, the Student Wellness Program provided various resources to help kick the habit.
Reinhart said that with the money provided by the Bacchus Network for a 4-year tobacco grant, Wardenburg will supply participants with a free nicotine replacement, such as the patch or gum.
At the meeting, some of the struggles students mentioned were that they loved to smoke when they were drinking, they needed cigarettes when they were stressed, it was just a habit, they forgot they were doing it, or everyone else was doing it.
“Nicotine can be harder to give up than cocaine,” Reinhart said. “That’s why they need an ally, someone you respect and don’t want to let down.”
One of the students participating in the contest explained why she was there.
“I’m a girl and a future mother. I need to do this for my health,” said Zhaleleva Balnur, a freshman economics major. “I can’t give up by myself, so why not use the resources around me?”
Balnur said she has been smoking since she was 15 years old and started at a summer camp with her friends when her parents weren’t there to stop her.
“I thought it would end there, but it didn’t,” Balnur said.
She said she has smoked alone and socially about three or four times a day since then.
“I’ve tried quitting a lot, but I just can’t stop,” Balnur said. “The patch and the motivation of the contest will help me. It’s also easier when other people are quitting.”
Axaule Sultanova, a sophomore chemistry major, came to support her friend in the competition.
“I’m her friend and I wish only the best for her,” Sultanova said.
Sultanova said the two girls are usually together, which will make it easier to prevent her from smoking.
The Student Wellness Program will be taking a urine sample from each contestant to prove they are smokers.
There will be a follow-up meeting Oct. 24, after what Reinhart called “hell week,” to de-stress participants with acupuncture if they want it. The final meeting will be Nov. 16.