Approximately 20% of participants gave up smoking on a long term basis after taking part in Trinity’s free Stop Smoking course.
The 20% are “normally post-graduates or staff,” however, according to College Health Promotion Officer, Martina Mullin. Each of the three courses offered see ten students attend on average, with approximately 40% of participants quitting in the short term upon completing the course.
As part of the Healthy Trinity programme in place around College, the first of the academic year’s free six week programmes on quitting smoking took place in September, while another is currently underway and a third course will operate in May.
The course covers topics such as readiness to stop smoking, dealing with cravings and how to use patches or nicotine replacement therapies.
Speaking to Trinity News, Mullin, said: “Quitting smoking is incredibly difficult. That’s why the tobacco free zones are so important. Most people quit seven to ten times before they are successful. Also most 20 year olds think they’ll stop smoking in the next few months, but don’t stop until they’re in their 40s.”
College first introduced smoke free zones at three separate locations across campus in July 2016. A smoking ban has since been in effect at Fellows’ Square just outside the Arts Building and Old Library, the grounds around the College Health Centre and outside the Sports Centre by Pearse Street.
Mullin praised the smoke free zones, saying they have been of great assistance to students who wish to reduce smoking at a crucial point in their lives, when the decisions made can affect your long term health. “The great thing is, though, if you stop before you’re 30 you can reverse all the damage done by smoking. Again, I refer you to the zones. They really help people who are trying to stop smoking,” she said.
The January course is the most signed up to, with more than twenty people attending the course in the new year. The May and September programmes tend to see fewer people seeking assistance. Students wishing to quit smoking at anytime throughout the year can also avail of the one on one stop smoking counselling service which is provided by the college health service.
Earlier this year, a report found that 19% of Trinity students are regular smokers, putting College at the lower end of a national estimate of young people who smoke in Ireland, which is between 8 and 44%. 60% of non-smokers report being affected by second hand smoke outside buildings on campus.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) voted to remove its stance on smoke-free zones in College in November, with the intention of replacing the position with a different mandate.