Over the past month, MHealthy’s Tobacco Consultation Service has encouraged smokers in the University of Michigan community to “Quit For A Day” on Thursday as part of a nationwide anti-smoking day sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

As part of their campaign, TCS connected with other branches of the University Health System by attending staff meetings and discussing their services throughout the month.

The service also distributed quit kits on campus, which hold information about ways to quit, including devices like Red Hots candies, worry stones and other resources, and to patients across the health system who are interested in quitting.

Additionally, TCS sponsored a webinar Tuesday led by Kate Collins, regulatory counsel in the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, to discuss the FDA’s new tobacco rule. Under this rule, the FDA regulates all tobacco products, including hookah and e-cigarettes, among others.

The ACA-sponsored day, called the Great American Smokeout, began in the 1970s and takes place every year on the third Thursday of November. Smokers are encouraged to either make a plan to quit smoking or use the day to kick off their plan.

According to the ACA’s website, 40 million Americans smoke cigarettes, and tobacco is the largest preventable cause of health complications and death.

TCS Program Manager Alison Nix said “Quit For A Day” opens a window for TCS to promote its resources to people who may be interested in quitting smoking or who would simply like to experience what it would be like to quit for a day.

“We feel like we have a role to share information on this day not only from an education perspective around what’s going on in the field, but also to provide information and support to individuals,” she said.

Scheduling the various events to culminate on the same day as the Great American Smokeout, she added, helps TCS take part in a national conversation at a community level.

“It’s an opportunity for us to share information on a day that people are really keyed in to because it’s a historical event that’s been happening for many years,” she said. “By having it on the Great American Smokeout, it’s a day that we can focus in on and highlight the resources that we have available to help people do that.”

Public Health Prof. Cliff Douglas, who teaches classes in tobacco policy and serves as the vice president for tobacco control at the American Cancer Society, noted in an interview that about 90 percent of smokers start smoking by the age of 18, and 99 percent start by the age of 26.

As a result, Douglas said, efforts like “Quit for a Day” in a university setting can be very influential. He added that knowledge and awareness are critical in a college environment and among students.

“One critical focus, of course, is students,” he said. “You’ve got a fairly significant percentage of smokers who start during the college years, so it’s a key transition time when a college student who smokes will either decide to quit or will continue smoking for many years to come and suffer the consequences. Or, in some cases, it determines whether a student starts to smoke.”

TCS efforts are slated to continue throughout the month — through the end of November, a wall in UMHS’s Towsley Center will continue to feature stories from people who used TCS to help them quit smoking as well as information about other methods to help quit.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.