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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Academics & Research

Students kick habit with free treatment


Cash, nicotine patches and therapy sessions are what students sign up for when they participate in smoking research studies performed by UH’s Anxiety of Health Research Lab and Substance Use Treatment Clinic.

Through this program, students will find resources to aid them in the quitting process and provide them with incentives to help persuade them to stop smoking cigarettes.

Founded two and a half years ago by Michael Zvolensky, the AHRL-SUTC, located in Suite 204 of the Fred J. Heyne Building, has “hit the ground running,” said post-baccalaureate research coordinator Muqaddas Sarwar. “If people want to quit smoking, we have the tools here. It is flexible, and we are definitely a good resource.”

Funded by organizations such as the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Cancer Institute, the AHRL-SUTC does both research and clinical work and has several ongoing research studies, including Panic Sensations and Smoking, Smoking Treatment for Anxious Smokers and Distress Tolerance and Marijuana.

“We are hoping that by offering tools to better manage anxiety through quitting, the (participants) will be better equipped to cope with anxiety, and they’ll be more successful at staying quit,” said AHRL-SUTC laboratory coordinator Lorra Garey.

Adults aged 18 to 65 in the Houston community, including UH students, are welcome to participate in studies within AHRL-SUTC. Anxiety treatment, nicotine patches and compensation are provided in the eight-week Smoking Treatment for Anxious Smokers study. As compensation is given per session, they have the opportunity to earn up to $120. In the Panic Sensations and Smoking study, students who are not quite ready to kick the habit but are looking for a new resource can participate in a one-time session and receive $50 cash compensation.

Clinical psychology doctoral candidate Samantha Farris said personnel at the AHRL-SUTC understand it is difficult to quit smoking, but they tailor a program individual to the participant and provide them with a viable resource in their process.

“Be very aware of your motivations for wanting change,” Farris said, “and remind yourself of that, then develop some healthy alternatives.”

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