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UA professor studying how to quit smoking by using guided imagery

Posted at 5:17 PM, Sep 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-16 20:17:00-04

Guided imagery is being used by one University of Arizona College of Nursing professor to see if it can help people stop smoking cigarettes.

Guided imagery is an enhanced form of visualization. Working with a coach, you can create an experience that includes sights, sounds, smells and feelings about a certain topic.

"For example, if someone always has a cup of coffee and a cigarette in the morning, we have them visualize what that's like. And then we have them think about how they're going to have their cup of coffee in the morning without smoking. What that's going to be like, what they are going to do differently once they're smoke free," said Dr. Judith Gordon, University of Arizona College of Nursing professor and Interim Associate Dean for Research.

Gordon's prediction is that guided imagery will be as effective, if not more, than the traditional quit-line coaching model. She says quit-lines do work, but they only reach about 1 to 3 percent of people who want to quit smoking, and those who do call the hotlines, tend to be white females. She is hoping results prove that this type of model is more appealing to men and to smokers of color.

"Men tend to not seek help when they quit, and we're hoping that this approach - which uses a coaching model very similar to athletics - would be appealing to men. And we're also hoping that smokers of color, who might also not be interested in a more kind of traditional model might be more interested in doing our program," said Gordon.

All in the hopes of finding guided imagery as primarily successful as a newer model to help smokers quit.

"The majority of smokers do want to quit, and we want to be able to increase access to tobacco-cessation services," said Gordon.

Gordon is looking for more participants for this study. To find out how to become a part of it and to see what incentives are being offered, click here.