OCCC ready to help employees kick habit

Starting Aug. 1, OCCC will be the 17th Oklahoma college or university to go tobacco free.

Because of that, the college is working with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department to provide smoking cessation classes this summer and into October for employees.

Cessation classes for students will be offered in the fall.

Professional Development Director Penny Hampton went through training with the American Lung Association in March and will teach the classes for employees.

“It’s eight sessions,” Hampton said. “But you do it in seven weeks.”

Hampton said the classes are divided into eight sessions that are completed in seven weeks.

“The first four are preparing the individual to quit,” she said. “ … The fourth session is called quit day and then you have a follow-up session a couple of days later to check-in with everybody.

“Then the rest of [the sessions] are once a week. That’s why [there are] eight sessions but only seven weeks.”

Learning Support Specialist Mary Turner is part of the Tobacco Task Force on campus.

She said she hopes employees and students alike take an active role in making the transition easier on themselves.

“My greatest concern is for those individuals who are not ready or who do not want to quit because, with them, it’s going to be a matter of helping them track their usage and schedule around it, so that’s going to be a very personal kind of thing.”

Turner and Student Life Director Erin Logan also have taken the ALA training.

Once the fall semester starts, Turner said, cessation classes will be offered to students.

“Because we’re constantly getting new students in, it was decided that the fall would be the best time for us to begin our student campaign,” Turner said.

“What will probably happen is there will be an initial cost for the materials and once the student completes (the course), we refund that or credit it toward a class.

“I do encourage individuals who want to quit to contact 1-800-QUITNOW, get smoking cessation products, get a stop coach, all of those kinds of things.”

She said OCCC’s goal in going tobacco free is to support the community in becoming cleaner which “will benefit many.”

For more information, contact Turner at mturner@occc.edu or 405-682-7544, or Logan at elogan@occc.edu.


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