Kicking the habit


Freshman history major Jacquelyn Finnander (right) and freshman mechanical engineering major Eric Forest (left) smoke outside of Douglas Hall.

By Zachary Brictson and Leah Spagnoli

DeKALB | The DeKalb County Health Department is offering a helping hand for those looking to love their heart and quit smoking.

According to a press release, Public Health Administrator Karen Grush announced that the health department joined up with the American Lung Association’s Illinois Tobacco Quitline and Lehan Drugs, 1407 S. Fourth St., to help provide over-the-counter nicotine replacement products. Products like patches, gum and lozenges will be provided to those interested for up to eight weeks at no cost. This is the first time the program has been offered.

“We wanted to try and give an opportunity to individuals who want to try nicotine replacement products,” said Marcy Zanellato, Director of Health Education at the DeKalb County Health Department, 2550 N. Annie Glidden Road. “The American Heart Association states that nicotine replacement therapy [NRT] has been shown to be safe and effective in helping people stop using cigarettes when used as part of a comprehensive smoking cessation program.”

To participate, individuals must first call and register with the Illinois Tobacco Quitline and determine which products to use, then register at the health department to receive a voucher for the product, Zanellato said. Participates must also work with the Quitline’s phone counseling service.

“It’s a simple process, quick and easy,” Zanellato said. “[The program] will run until June 30th, at that point we’ll evaluate whether to continue or not.”

Nicotine replacement therapy products can be expensive. Lehan Drugs Pharmacist Ann Lehan said a two week supply of the higher strength nicotine replacement patches cost around $40.

“They are getting a fair benefit,” Lehan said.

The products have a 50 percent success rate and individuals would need at least six to eight weeks on the program to quit, Lehan said.

“[Quitting] has a lot to do with attitude and environment,” Lehan said.

Zanellato said to supplement the products, participants must periodically call the quit line to talk about their progress with professional consultants.

“It’s similar to the type of assistance you’d get from a smoking cessation class,” Zanellato said.

DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen said he supports the program.

“I spent 30 years trying to prevent drug and alcohol abuse working at the Ben Gordon Center,” Povlsen said. “I believe that any act that can be done to help people quit smoking is a positive one.”

Dave Robertson, a junior computer science major, said he was not currently trying to quit but was impressed by the offer.

“I think it would help get past the first few days, those are always the hardest,” Robertson said. “I might want to try it out.”