GW quiet on smoking campaign

The University is keeping quiet on the number of students using its resources to quit smoking after launching the highly visible “Be a Quitter” campaign in February.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to share how many students have used the program to quit their habit.

The campaign was introduced to encourage a smoke-free campus and offers a support hotline, behavioral counseling and a website with tips for students trying to quit.

“While we don’t have exact numbers on the amount of students who have participated in the smoking program and counseling program due to confidentiality, we do know the numbers have greatly increased since the start of the campaign, and many students and employees have reached out to get more information about the campaign,” Sherrard said.

Sherrard declined to explain how GW knows the numbers have greatly increased without the University keeping exact numbers.

Sherrard also declined to state the campaign’s expenses but said the cost was minimal.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has a similar program to help students kick their smoking habit, led by Jason Robertson, the wellness coordinator and smoking cessation counselor.

“Greenboro’s approach is to increase the self-empowerment of everyone who goes through the program,” Roberston said.

Robertson said about 40 students are participating in the school’s program, which uses four-week group sessions that focus on nicotine replacement therapy, building self-efficacy and dealing with the underlying causes of smoking.

He said he estimates UNC Greensboro spends about $4,250 yearly to offer the anti-smoking services to students free of cost.

UNC Greensboro also offers a free 24-hour hotline students can call to discuss quitting smoking with trained professionals, as well as reduced-cost visits with certified tobacco cessation specialists.

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