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PA Students Host Smoking Cessation Lecture at Project H.O.M.E.

August 14, 2013

Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions’ Physician Assistant students Anna Boccardo and Darence Thong gave a lecture about smoking cessation to residents at Project H.O.M.E., a halfway house in Philadelphia that helps formerly homeless people adjust during transitions.

Boccardo and Thong were asked to return to Project H.O.M.E. this summer after the success of their last smoking cessation talk in fall 2012. Some members of the audience had been smoking for more than 25 years.

“I think it’s cool helping someone better their life, which is part of the reason why I wanted to be a PA. It’s just such an awesome feeling to help someone out and see them transform,” Boccardo said.

The PA team chose to focus their lecture on the benefits of changing habits rather than on the harms of smoking. They applied subject matter they learned in class about holistic health and the cycle of change to their presentation. The pair also researched methods for quitting smoking as part of an independent research project.

“I focused a lot when I was talking to them about ways to stop smoking without medication,” Boccardo said. They explained stress-relieving techniques, methods of distraction, and how changing your environment can help make quitting smoking easier.

Boccardo and Thong spoke about the positive aspects and rewards someone can receive by quitting smoking. Thong gave the audience an example about how hard it is for a smoker to walk up the stairs and catch their breath. If a person were to quit smoking, walking up the stairs would begin to get easier and less time would be wasted on catching their breath.

“I think if we got at least one person reconsider their smoking habits, I think that’s more than we can ask for with a topic that’s so hard to convince people to change,” Thong said.