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January 10, 2002 Smoking cessation program for employees



Marina Wolanski

Administrative assistant (Residence) Marina Wolanski kicks butt.

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

by Barbara Black

Last term we told you about staff member Marina Wolanski, who was ready to quit smoking and had signed up for a special program. We promised we’d tell you how she did, and the news is good: Marina has been a non-smoker for more than a month.

Not only did Marina quit smoking, she lost five pounds.

“It was hard, I’m not saying it wasn’t,” she said, “but of all the things I’ve tried – hypnosis, the patch, Zyban, cold turkey – this group program was the best.

“The facilitators were very good. One session focused on relaxation exercises. Another was on identifying our triggers [to have a smoke]. Another was on substitutes for smoking. We had to record how we felt every time we had a cigarette, which made me very conscious of smoking.”

The strong support from the group made a key difference in her behaviour, Marina added. “Once I went in to work kind of grouchy, and thought, I would so love a cigarette. I sent an e-mail to the other members of the group, and they sent me back messages saying, Don’t do it.”

Marina takes deep breaths occasionally to counteract her occasional desire to smoke, and it seems to be working. She also joined a gym, and while she didn’t diet or set out to lose any weight, she was pleased to find that she lost a few pounds over the weeks she was in the program.

This first smoking cessation group started with eight employees. Their number dwindled to four who stayed the course and celebrated their achievement with a final dinner.

She quit — so can you

Health Services is running another group for staff and faculty that begins on Tuesday, Feb. 5, and encourages other people who are seriously thinking about adopting a smoke-free life to join the group.

Also, the Employee Assistance Program is holding a free lunchtime information session about the upcoming group on Thursday, Jan. 17, from 12-1 p.m. in H-760. To register, people can call Nina Peritz at 848-3667, e-mail her at eap@alcor.concordia.ca, or register on-line at http://eap.concordia.ca.

The “I Quit” program is an eight-week smoking cessation program facilitated by health care professionals at Concordia Health Services.

Sessions will take place on SGW campus every Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., from Feb. 5 to March 26, as well as a session on Thursday Feb. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. The participation fee is $25.

For more information or to register, call Angie Trubiano at 848-3569. Registration is limited to 20 participants.