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Gateway student receives grant to help reduce tobacco use

Florence, Ky. (August 6, 2018) — Gateway Community & Technical College student and student representative to Gateway’s Board of Directors, Sarah Bryant, recently received a $500 grant from Build NKY and the Center for Great Neighborhoods to help reduce tobacco use in the city of Covington.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has the highest smoking rates of any state in the U.S., and the City of Covington, and Gallatin County’s rates are double the national average.

In an effort to help community members quit smoking in these areas, BUILD NKY and The Center for Great Neighborhoods introduced the “Quit for Good” Community Grant Program. Through this program, Bryant received a $500 grant to implement creative ways to help reduce and prevent tobacco usage throughout Covington and Gallatin County.

“Our organization wants to bring community members together and strengthen relationships through a common need or opportunity,” said Jameela Salaah, program manager, The Center for Great Neighborhoods. “We find value in the individuals who live, work, study, and play in Covington becoming leaders and making a positive impact in their community.”

Bryant plans to use the funding from the grant to help reduce the stress that occurs when trying to stop smoking. She has created a free de-stress bag, complete with a stress ball, candy, tooth picks, chewing gum and an informational pamphlet. Bryant plans to distribute her de-stress bags at local pharmacies in Covington, the counseling center at Gateway, and potentially at St. Elizabeth in their smoking cessation classes as well as the emergency room.

“I think a lot of the reasons why people don’t quit smoking is because of the stress of it all,” said Bryant. “A craving typically lasts five to 10 minutes. So how long can you make a Twizzler or a tooth pick last?”

Bryant has always had a passion for smoking cessation. She is allergic to the tar that is found in cigarettes and 80 percent of her family members are smokers. A few years ago, her aunt passed away from lung cancer.

Not only did Bryant receive funding from the Center for Great Neighborhoods, she also received donations from Perfetti Van Melle for Mentos chewing gum as part of the de-stress bags and received support from Gateway Community & Technical College.

Byrant, along with the Center for Great Neighborhoods, are hosting a relaxation day on Aug. 19, at the Center for Great Neighborhoods. Find more information here.