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Healthwise program aims to provide resources, support to those who want to quit tobacco

ONU Healthwise offers a variety of services to students, faculty, staff, and dependents. (Northern Review photo/Khadijah Bagais)

ONU Healthwise offers a variety of services to students, faculty, staff, and dependents. (Northern Review photo/Khadijah Bagais)

Aug. 17, 2015 was the day ONU’s campus went tobacco free. Faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and campus visitors are prohibited from using tobacco products anywhere on campus. As part of the initiative, ONU has promised to provide tobacco cessation help to those interested.

The university supports faculty, staff, and students who want to stop using tobacco and nicotine products, and help is available through the Student Health Center, ONU HealthWise, and the university insurance provider.

Brittany Long, ONU’s Healthwise resident assistant, said that tobacco cessation counseling has always been available to employees, but since the move in August, they have expanded their offerings to more of the campus.

Healthwise hopes to serve as a resource for the campus community to achieve tobacco abstinence.

Suggested methods to help overcome tobacco addiction include picking a date to quit; telling your family and friends that you’re quitting, so that they are able to provide support; acquiring new hobbies so as to reduce stress and keep you engaged; utilizing approved over-the-counter medications to reduce the urge to smoke; and being prepared for relapse, but trying to avoid triggers like alcohol, second-hand smoke, and association with other smokers.

Most importantly, never be afraid to ask for help.

Patients of ONU’s cessation program can receive pharmacist counseling, education, and nicotine replacement therapy in the form of a patch, gum, or lozenge. Individual follow ups and group support sessions are also available to provide continual support and motivation.

The services are available to those who currently use any form of tobacco product, are at least 18 years of age, and are a student, employee, or dependent of an employee at Ohio Northern University. This includes employees of Sodexo, Barnes & Noble, and The Inn.

“So far, the response has been positive,” said Long. “Many people have contacted ONU HealthWise for more information on the program, and six people have initiated or completed treatment.”

Director of Healthwise Michael Rush sees their services as evidence of ONU’s care for the campus.

“I sincerely believe that the ability for everyone on campus, including students, employees, retirees..., to be able to speak with a certified tobacco cessation specialist and receive free nicotine replacement products speaks to the university's genuine commitment to the health of everyone on campus.”

For those wanting more information regarding the program, you can contact Brittany Long via email at b-brock@onu.edu or healthwise@onu.edu or by calling 419-772-2299.

Other resources tobacco users can utilize include the Ohio Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW, American Lung Assn. Lung Help Line: 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872), National Cancer Institute, and The EX Program.

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