Year One of the CAMPQuit Program a Big Success
The CAMPQuit program at CAMP Rehoboth got off to a great start in 2016-17! Funded by a $12,000 grant from the Delaware Lung Association, this new program offered a variety of strategies to LGBTQ long-term and beginning smokers to help them “quit the habit.” Helping our friends to quit smoking is vitally important because: 1) smoking is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in our country; and 2) one of the highest rates of smoking in the U.S. is found among our own LGBTQ community. Why do more of us smoke? According to the American Journal of Prevention Medicine (2001) it’s “stress due to social stigma and discrimination, peer pressure, aggressive marketing by the tobacco company and limited access to effective tobacco treatment.”
When you read about LGBTQ people and smoking you hear a lot about the need for cultural competency in tobacco prevention and cessation programs. When CAMP Rehoboth designed CAMPQuit, we built cultural competence right into the program. We offered sessions in the safe environment of our Community Center by LGBTQ and/or LGBTQ-friendly leaders, and in small cohort groups of other LGBTQ individuals with whom participants could feel comfortable sharing.
Looking back at achievements during our first year, we offered six-week face-to-face sessions of support to three cohort groups. Almost all 35 people enrolled in one of the cohorts completed the six weeks and came for follow-up meetings. All participants—those who had just started smoking and those who had smoked for 30+ years—either quit completely, reduced their smoking, or committed to quit. Women participants outnumbered men this year.
Participants found CAMPQuit helpful and effective. They benefitted from support of the leader and others like themselves who were non-judgmental. They loved the excellent California workbook that was used, “The Last Drag.” They used social media to stay connected and found it a very helpful part of the program. Finally, they appreciated greatly that sessions were held in the supportive, safe, and familiar environment of CAMP Rehoboth.
CAMP Rehoboth highly advertised the CAMPQuit program in order to reach as many people as possible. We also reached out to three Gay-Straight Alliance programs in local high schools in an attempt to establish a prevention program with younger LGBTQ individuals. We had some good conversations with them, and we think that those people who came to our conversations have a better understanding on how LGBTQ people are targeted by the tobacco companies. Reaching young people continues to be one of our CAMP Rehoboth goals.
CAMPQuit is one of a group of new programs CAMP Rehoboth has initiated to meet needs of our community. Funding of year two of the program is being sought through the CAMP Rehoboth Grants Committee.
For more information about CAMP Rehoboth’s Health and Wellness Programs, contact Sal Seeley or by calling 302-227-5620.