As Roberta Parga Nina anxiously blows into a carbon monoxide tester, the machine registers a level “two” attempt.
The test is being administered to nicotine dependent students like Parga Nina during a Quit Smoking Now class offered by the Kendall Campus’ Wellness Center and the Miami-Dade Area Health Education Center.
The course was started in May when MDC banned smoking college-wide.
“I’m happy because I’m trying to quit, and I know it’s going to be better, but it’s very hard,” said Parga Nina, a Kendall Campus student majoring in graphic design, who said she used to smoke an average of 25 cigarettes per day, but has been smoke-free since starting the program. “I just take it one step after another, each day is a victory.”
The program offers MDC students, staff and faculty members six-week counseling sessions, and four weeks of nicotine replacement therapy, in which nicotine patches are provided, as well as educational information and resources on stress management, nicotine, nutrition and other topics.
“It’s part of my function to provide wellness and fitness programs to the College,” said Cookie Rosell, Wellness and Fitness Director at Kendall Campus. “This is an important part of having a healthy lifestyle; smoking is a leading risk factor to heart disease.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 70% of smokers want to quit completely, and in a study done in 2008, approximately 45% of smokers attempted to quit.
The tobacco cessation classes are held every Monday from 12-1 p.m. at Kendall Campus’ Wellness Center in Room G110.
The classes are free and students don’t need to register to attend.
“[The class] doesn’t have rules like normal classes do,” Rosell said.
The course is led by Alek Demario, instructor and program manager of the Miami-Dade Area Health Education Center.
Demario has previously taught the course at Florida International University, several state prisons and mental hospitals.
“I bully them into quitting smoking,” Demario joked.
The Wellness Center plans to continue providing the Quit Smoking Now program and enhance awareness of smoke-free living through campaigns around the College.
“At Miami Dade College we provide educational opportunities,” Rosell said. “At the Wellness Center we provide healthier opportunities.”
For more information, contact:
Wellness and Fitness Center Director