Students give help to quit smoking for Stoptober

A man sticking his thumb up and holding a leaflet

University of West London (UWL) MSc Health Psychology students have been at Paragon House today supporting people trying to give up smoking as part of the national Stoptober campaign, which challenges smokers to give up cigarettes for 28 days during October.

The students are trained to deliver a brief intervention in smoking cessation, which they are putting into practice across UWL campus sites during Stoptober. Research has shown that people able to abstain for the 28-day period are five times more likely to quit smoking permanently.

Students have been talking to UWL staff and students about the associated risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting. They are also giving out information about smoking cessation services available in Ealing, and using a carbon monoxide monitor to demonstrate the amount of smoke and combustion associated with smoking cigarettes. The students are being supported by trainers from OneYouEaling, a provider of health services managed by Ealing Council.

Beyond Stoptober, students are also encouraged to volunteer for OneYouEaling outreach activities, where they gain practical experience, including promotional stands in Ealing Broadway and Ealing hospitals, events in schools and libraries, and clinics in GP surgeries.

Aga Lachowska, a postgraduate student who took part in the anti-smoking drive, said: ‘The aim of my course is to enable people to change their lives and that’s exactly what we’re doing with this event about smoking cessation. People have taken our message surprisingly well. Some are not ready to stop smoking yet and there’s psychology behind that; you would be surprised how much science there is on the subject of these belief models.'

People holding informative flyers up to the camera

Dr Caroline Lafarge, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, said: ‘The proposed event is designed to give an opportunity to our students to practise the skills they acquired during their initial Level One training within the University. From a teaching point of view, the opportunity enables students to gain insights into the way the theories about behaviour translate into practice.’

‘Taking part in events run by practitioners enable students to learn from those directly involved in delivering smoking cessation interventions. It also enables them to get to know individuals or teams outside UWL, which is of great benefit for their future career.’

A second session will be taking place on the Ealing campus next Thursday, from 11.30am to 2.30pm in The Street. 

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