With the smoking ban recently put into effect, Cal State Fullerton has expanded its programs to include workshops to help smokers quit.
The first two workshops of the year were led by a CSUF alumna and ex-smoker, who now helps people throughout Orange County to quit smoking.
Luisa Santa, 25, works as a tobacco cessation specialist for Anaheim Regional Medical Center in the Tobacco Cessation Department.
Students who are trying to quit can use the workshops to obtain up to six weeks of nicotine patches, get help with tobacco withdrawal symptoms and learn how to reduce the urge to smoke.
Santa, who is a graduate of CSUF with degrees in communications and Spanish literature, has worked as a cessation specialist for over two years.
The Orange County Healthcare Agency provides the workshop through the Tobacco Use Prevention Program, at no cost to the school.
An hour and a half workshop at the Irvine Campus was scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. but was dismissed at 6 p.m. when no participants had arrived.
The cessation workshop would have been the second in a series Santa will be conducting at CSUF.
Santa said that the previous workshop at the Fullerton campus was attended by six people, including staff members. Initially exclusive to students, the smoking cessation effort was expanded to all employees of the university when the ban was put in place.
The workshop Santa conducts focuses on education regarding the harmful nature of tobacco. Attendees of the seminars are also given nicotine patches at no cost.
Curtis Plotkin, the director of CSUF’s department of Environmental Health and Safety, said his office is hoping to make the ban effective by increasing community awareness against smoking.
“This is a total educational program. We are encouraging people through peer pressure and packs of gum,” Plotkin said. “It’s a health issue, it’s a pollution issue.”
Currently, no penalty exists for those who choose to smoke on campus.
The ban includes all smoking devices and products, including tobacco free nicotine products like e-cigarettes.
Students and staff can lodge anonymous complaints about the ban through the university’s environmental risk and safety page, Plotkin said.
Plotkin said that his office has received around 12 complaints from students, most of which regard e-cigarettes.
The seminars are subsidized by the state and do not cost the university directly when conducted for employees.
Cessation workshops for students are funded through the Student Health and Counseling Center. Packs of gum, which are distributed to students seen smoking, are paid for by the vice president of Administration and Finance’s office.
Plotkin said the Student Health and Counseling Center has had other programs that have helped students quit for years and plans to continue them.
Johan DeWaal, 38, a business major who takes courses at the Irvine Campus, feels the university’s move to ban smoking is a positive step.
DeWaal quit smoking and has been clean for nearly 17 years. He said he thinks the lack of attendees at the Irvine workshop is likely due to a lack of promotion rather than a lack of interest.
Though he does not feel that the ban would have necessarily led him to quit smoking, he does note that smoking is primarily a social activity.
Tobacco cessation workshops are scheduled to be held on Oct. 17, Nov. 13 and Dec. 10 at the Irvine Campus. All of the classes begin at 5:30 p.m. The seminars are open to all students, faculty and staff. Reservations for the workshops are not required.