UB QUIT shows progress in first year as participants stop smoking
Melissa Day used to smoke nearly two packs of cigarettes a day. For the last year, she hasn’t picked up a single smoke.
She is one of the participants that have contributed to UB’s QUIT Program’s 90 percent success rate of individuals quitting smoking after one month of the program.
The smoking cessation program started last year in UB’s psychology department with the intention to help heavy smokers quit. The process is now being offered for $50, rather than $65, for the months of September and October, in the hopes of gaining more participants. The program is open to heavy smokers above the age of 18.
Day, owner and Managing Attorney of the Law offices of Melissa A. Day, PLLC, joined the QUIT program in August 2013.
Day had just been rejected by UB’s Smoking Study and was told by one of the lead researchers that counseling was one of the best predictors of success in quitting smoking. This gave her confidence in the QUIT program. She has since become a “vocal advocate” of the program.
“Even before I started the program, I came to see the failures not as isolated incidents but as part of a process of eventually being successful in quitting,” Day said in an email.
Sharon Radomski, a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program, recently joined the QUIT Program as one of its trained clinician. She believes the program is not hard to complete even though trying to quit smoking is difficult.
The program includes group sessions. Radomski noted, however, when there are not enough participants for group sessions, it leads to a more individualized program, like in Day’s experience.
One of the requirements of the program is participants must have previously tried to quit smoking before, according to Radomski.
"When a quitter tries to quit and they have a failed attempt at quitting, they learn a lot,” Radomski said. “They learn about what was hard for them and what led them to their relapse. There is a lot of information you learn about what makes it difficult to become a nonsmoker. ”
Radomski said the program doesn’t guarantee “once you quit, you won’t have any more cravings.”
She advises participants who complete the program to apply what they learned to combat the urge to smoke again.
Both Germeroth and Radomski, said the QUIT Program struggles to recruit younger smokers because of the $65 price. But they believe that if younger individuals focused more on the benefits, there would be a higher recruitment rate from the youth.
The money would cover an intake session and seven group treatment sessions that span over a three-week period.
Lisa Germeroth, founder of the QUIT Program and a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program, believes the fee is a “bargain.”
“For individuals ambivalent about the payment, we emphasize the amount of money that they will save on cigarettes once they quit smoking.” Germeroth said.
Dr. Stephan Tiffany, the chair of the psychology department at UB, helped establish the QUIT Program.
Germeroth said she noticed a need for an individualized smoking cessation program in the Buffalo area where smokers could feel like their individual needs could be addressed in a flexible manner.
Siddharth Gattani, a senior finance major, has not participated in the program but believes that it is effective. He said he attempted to quit smoking because he wants to live a healthier life for his family.
Gattani believes the high-priced fee may contribute to any reluctance in joining but also proposed that the program is great for smokers
“I have been smoking 10 to 15 [cigarettes] a day, for the last three to four years” Gattani said. “I find it difficult to gain weight as I am already underweight. I lost my appetite and sometimes it pains in the chest.”
Germeroth emphasizes there are other smoking cessation resources in the Buffalo area. But she believes those particular resources are more didactic because they create a “classroom feel.”
She said the QUIT Program is “highly interactive” and that is what sets the program apart from others.