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Gateway Student Hopes to Fight Smoking in Covington with Grant Funds

A student at Gateway Community & Technical College was awarded a $500 grant from Build NKY and the Center for Great Neighborhoods to help reduce tobacco use in Covington.

Sarah Bryant is also the student representative to the Gateway board of directors.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has the highest smoking rate in the country, and smoking rates in Covington and Gallatin County, which are the target of focused anti-tobacco campaigns, are double the national average, a news release said.

Build NKY and the Center for Great Neighborhoods launched the Quit for Good community grant campaign to combat tobacco use in Covington and Gallatin County.

Bryant's grant will help implement creative solutions to tobacco use in the community.

“Our organization wants to bring community members together and strengthen relationships through a common need or opportunity,” said Jameela Salaah, program manager, at 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 Healthcare 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 ten 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 and the Center for Great Neighborhoods are hosting a relaxation day on Sunday, Aug. 19, at the Center for Great Neighborhoods. Find more information here.

-Staff report

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