Smoking cessation program helps OCC students kick the habit

With vaping on the rise among college students, OCC's Student Health Center is now offering a program to help students quit. 

Orange Coast College has announced that it would be a smoke-free campus starting this fall semester. 

Janice Iglesias, the tobacco cessation specialist at the Student Health Center, said the idea has been around since 2018, but now they were able to put it into practice.

“We saw the importance of providing services to the faculty, students and staff that wanted to quit tobacco,” Iglesias said.

Iglesias said that OCC Health Center’s ultimate goal is to provide assistance to the campus for anyone struggling to quit on their own. 

Students can set appointments for a five-session, solo-counseling session. They also provide group therapy and seminars. As of now, the cessation program is providing all of these services over the phone or online.

“Once campus is open, sessions will be held in person and we are hoping to provide outside services as well,” Iglesias said.  

A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that 19-to-22-year-old college students who vaped nicotine in the last month rose from 6.1% (2017) to 22% (2019) and non-college students’ usage rose from 7.9% (2017) to 18% (2019).

The study also shows that 19-to-22-year-old college students who vape marijuana in the last month rose from 5.2% (2017) to 14% (2019) and non-college students rose from 7.8% (2017) to 17% (2019).

“We are seeing an increasingly concerning trend,” Nora D. Volkow, director of NIDA, said in a press release. “Many young people may view vaping and cannabis use as ‘safer.’”

“Seeing those rates increase, it does compel us to support those individuals and how we can prevent that further increase,” Iglesias said.  

As of September 2020, the Health Center has received several inquiries about their cessation program, but no appointments have been made. 

“The Student Health Center is here for you and we know the process is hard to quit tobacco. And during this pandemic, going smoke free is highly encouraged.” Iglesias encourages.

To schedule an appointment or for more information, visit the OCC website under Tobacco Cessation.

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