LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2010) − Almost three months after the University of Kentucky became tobacco-free, more than 100 people are enrolled in UK's individual or group tobacco treatment programs, and more than 50 are taking advantage of UK's free nicotine replacement therapy.
"It is very encouraging that we are only about 90 days into the implementation of this policy and we are already seeing benefits," said Audrey Darville, UK tobacco treatment specialist. "Tobacco use is defined as a chronic disease and it is important to remember that quitting is a process. Those in the UK community that are considering quitting, should contact members involved with UK's tobacco treatment resources."
Guy Hamilton Smith, UK College of Law student, was encouraged by the tobacco-free policy to become tobacco-free and through the use of UK's resources. He saved more than $200 in his first month alone. When asked what he will do with all the money he will be saving, Smith said he will do something practical and buy a new suit. Every time he wears the suit, he will be reminded of his triumph and ability to overcome his addiction.
Assistance and resources to become tobacco-free are being sought from all areas of the campus by employees, retirees, spouses and students.
"As the University seeks to become a top 20 university, and as the state's flagship university, we decided to tackle Kentucky’s most pressing problems and take a leadership role in making UK a healthy place to learn, work and live,” said Anthany Beatty, UK assistant vice president for campus services. “Our hope was that we would spur other communities in the state, and across the nation, to do the same."
Since the University of Kentucky became tobacco-free on Nov. 19, about 100 more colleges and universities across the country have implemented tobacco-free or smoke-free policies. Many of those colleges contacted UK officials to learn more about UK's policy and implementation process.
UK continues to offer support and many resources for those interested in quitting tobacco use. Among these resources are nicotine replacement therapy products, including patches or gum. These are offered at no cost to students and employees (and their spouses or sponsored dependents) who are enrolled and participate in one of the many UK-sponsored tobacco treatment programs. A full list of resources for managing cravings or quitting tobacco use, along with information about UK's tobacco-free policy, is available at www.uky.edu/TobaccoFree. (Click on the "Tobacco Treatment Resources" tab for details.)
"Almost every one of the participants I am working with has commented on how wonderful it is that we are providing them free nicotine replacement," said Jody Ensman, UK Health & Wellness program manager. "Some of them have said that they would never have quit if they had to pay for the product."