Through Counseling and Psychological Services programming, UA Pat Walker Health Center officials aim to preserve and maintain the UofA’s status as a tobacco-free campus, offering students addiction resources and wellness coaching.
Arkansas has six suspected cases of vaping-related lung illnesses as of Oct. 1. Of the confirmed cases, all patients vaped weeks and months before their hospital visit, according to a press release from The Arkansas Department of Health.
Through the implementation of programs that bring awareness to the harms of tobacco, tobacco-free areas offer proactive practices that continue to reduce the use of tobacco both on and off campus, according to the Pat Walker Health Center.
“There are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to vaping and e-cigarette use, so being cautious and refraining from vaping is recommended,” said Zac Brown, assistant director of communications for PWHC.
The most-proven ways to quit smoking are treatment through medication, which targets mental withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and nicotine replacement therapy, which targets physical withdrawal symptoms, Brown said.
CAPS offers students free wellness coaching to help bring awareness to substance abuse. Professional wellness coaches are certified health educators who create a specific plan for each individual that will improve academics and overall satisfaction with life, according to CAPS.
During a typical session, the patient will identify and evaluate areas that need changing, practice basic anxiety-reducing techniques and put efforts in place to change personal habits and attitudes.
Tobacco addiction can cause lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema, as well as exacerbate asthma symptoms in adults and children, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The Arkansas Department of Health has issued a warning about the potential effects on the lungs for those who use e-cigarettes or vapes.
Nicotine harms the brain, which is not fully developed until an individual is in their mid-20s, according to the Pat Walker Health Center. Vapes create substances that harm the body through tiny particles that reach the lungs.
Junior Caleb Beasley is a resident assistant (RA) for Humphrey’s Hall and has had to learn about vaping and smoking for his job. Beasley also said that he has known and seen friends of his vape and smoke before and said, “You lose control over yourself when you become addicted to something.”
Senior Madison Lopez is a resident assistant for Humphrey’s hall and said she thinks students shouldn’t vape unless an individual is over the age of 18 and trying to quit smoking. Lopez said it’s unwise to vape under age because “it’s an unhealthy habit for no reason.” Lopez said that over the years of being an RA, she has caught and seen students vaping/smoking and thinks she is healthy and fortunate to have never started a bad habit.
When students and adults quit vaping, the body will automatically start to improve, according to Washington Regional Medical Center. Every day and year that individuals stop smoking/vaping their health and longevity of life increases. After one year, risk for coronary heart disease becomes half that of a smoker and after five years stroke risk, risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, and esophagus is half that of a smoker.
UA Pat Walker Health Center Counseling and Psychological Services officials have promoted a tobacco-free campus since 2009, aiming to help students stop smoking and vaping on and off-campus.
Students who are trying to quit smoking or vaping can schedule appointments online through the PWHC patient portal or by calling 479-575-4451.