Campus Wellness Center helps students kick the habit

Nurses+from+AACC%27s+Health+and+Wellness+Center+tell+students+that+smoking+can+compromise+lung+function--an+especially+high+risk+during+a+pandemic.

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Nurses from AACC’s Health and Wellness Center tell students that smoking can compromise lung function–an especially high risk during a pandemic.

Dominic Salacki, Reporter

A fear of compromising their immune systems is motivating some students to quit smoking, two AACC registered nurses said Wednesday.

“Right now, with COVID, this is not the time for anyone’s lungs to be compromised,” Beth Mays, manager of the campus Health and Wellness Center, told students during a virtual vent.

Tobacco treatment specialist Stephanie Jenkins agreed. She advised students to practice mindful breathing exercises to them help quit smoking.

“Close your eyes and sit up straight with your feet on the floor,” Jenkins told students. “Place one hand on your abdomen, just above your belly button, and the other hand on your chest. Breathe in through your nose and your hand on your abdomen should move up while the hand on your chest should not move. Slowly exhale, blowing the air out of your mouth. You want to take two times as long to breathe out than breathe in.”

Students who want to kick the habit can contact Jenkins to schedule an initial one-on-one virtual counseling session.

According to Jenkins, the first session is usually at least 15 minutes because of initial paperwork. Follow-ups involve five-minute check-ins.

The Health and Wellness Center offers nicotine patches, gum and lozenges. Students can get them by mail after a first session with Jenkins.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death, disability and disease in the United States, Jenkins said.

“Most successful quit attempts are not ‘cold turkey’ attempts,” she added.