Funding Opportunity

Dear CEASE Colleagues,

The ASCEND Center for Biomedical Research, a sister organization at Morgan State University, has an opportunity that we want to bring to your attention: Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Small Grants.

This initiative’s purpose is to fund small (up to $20,000) health-related community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects, led collaboratively by Morgan State University faculty, post-doctoral fellows or doctoral students, in partnership with a community-based initiative. The program creates opportunities for students and faculty to design and participate in health-related CBPR projects. Letters of intent are due March 4th, and applications are due April 4th.

The guidance/instructions, forms, and further details are available on our website at:

We encourage you to work with an MSU faculty member, post-doctoral fellow or doctoral candidate and apply for this program. Contact Ms. Gillian Silver (, ASCEND Program Manager, with any questions.



A Worthwhile Tax

Although concerned advocates across the state are doing great work, to expand access to quality, affordable health care, with the Affordable Care Act or Obama Care for short, there are still significant numbers of Marylanders who will fall through the cracks.  Through no fault of their own, they will make too much money to qualify for some programs, but still not earn enough to be able to go out and buy an affordable policy, to cover themselves and their families.  As advocates, this is unacceptable.  We can, must, and will do better.

One of the best ways to eliminate this insurance gap is to continue good, proven public health policy that we know works.  By increasing the state tobacco tax by one dollar a pack, we can prevent our youth from starting to smoke, provide incentive for adult smokers to really give quitting a go, and provide significant amounts of revenue to help our fellow citizens with something they so desperately want and need – health care coverage so they have peace of mind.  Tobacco taxes are win-win policy.  People stop (or don’t begin) smoking, revenues are raised, and we save massive amounts of health care costs for all of us.

If we can reduce smoking rates and decrease the rolls of the uninsured, we are not only do the right thing morally, we are also making a financial decision that effects the entire population, smoker or not.  One might say that if you increase the tax and people stop smoking, then you will see a dramatic decrease in the revenue obtained.  Correct, and exactly what we want!  We want fewer people to die from awful tobacco related illnesses, to reduce the numbers of uninsured and thereby reduce the amount of uncompensated care, and at the same time have Marylanders lead healthier and happier lives!


Matt Celentano is the Assistant Director Of Maryland Health Care for All

Great American Smokeout

Millions of people attempt to quit smoking every year- yet less than 7% are actually successful. To some, the thought of quGASOitting seems overwhelming. Many studies have shown that smokers with a strong support system who can guide and motivate them while quitting, are the most successful in staying quit. For that reason, the American Cancer Society has created an annual day in November to challenges smokers to quit for one-day, while aligning them with tobacco cessation resources to aid them in staying quit. This special day is called the Great American Smokeout. Since its inception in the 1970s, the Great American Smokeout is held on the third Thursday in November.

The Great American Smokeout is also instrumental in raising awareness of the lives lost and negative health impact associated with smoking as well as creating momentum in the anti-tobacco movement. Through their efforts many states with strong anti-tobacco legislation have seen the numbers of smokers dwindle. Maryland, one of the most progressive states with regards to tobacco restrictions, faces an uphill battle with smoking in the Black community. For example, in Southwest Baltimore, a predominantly Black community, 59% of residents smoking, while the state average in Maryland is 15%. With this obvious health disparity in mind, CEASE has been instrumental in helping area residents quit smoking by creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere. Join us on November 2oth, 2014 as we support American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout.

For more information on how you can QUIT for good, look at our new class schedule in our November newsletter.

Our democracy at work!!

On October 7, 2014 the Judiciary Committee of the Baltimore City Council met to hear testimony on proposed legislation that would treat the use, sale and retail placement of e-cigarettes the same as traditional cigarettes. The Council room was packed, with those supporting and opposing to the bill.

The legislation, City Council Bill 14-0371 , was first introduced by Council members Kraft, Scott, Curran, Henry, Middleton, Clarke, Reisinger in April of this year.  It received a positive report from the Baltimore City Health Department, the Environmental Control Board, the City Department of Finance and the City Solicitor. The bill doesn’t say anything about the pros or cons e-cigarettes may have on health, environmental waste, helping people stop smoking, or addiction. Those are issues the Food & Drug Administration has to make policy about.

So what a surprise to me when many of those testifying against the bill brought up “harm reduction”, “helping people stop smoking”, “product safety”, and “nicotine levels”. Folks who “vape” shared the benefits they felt since switching from “smoking”. These are real people, with real stories that are certainly reducing the number of chemicals they are putting in their bodies. But let’s face it- that isn’t what this legislation is about.

As I see it, it is about two things. First it is to stop the easy exposure and access youth (under 18) have to these products.  The use of e-cigarettes has quadrupled in the past 2 years! Kids that would never dream of smoking a cigarette are vaping, many without realizing that there is nicotine in the fruit and candy flavored “juice”. We can’t talk about harm reduction in this group because their harm level started at zero, not the level of say 10 that cigarette smokers have. Preventing young people from using an addictive substance, any addictive substance is a good thing.

The second thing this legislation is about is protecting non-vapers from any second- or third-hand vapor! Is this stuff better than tobacco smoke? As far as we know, yes but… We really don’t know the long term effects of these products, so why take a chance? Treating e-cigarettes like cigarettes means restaurants and bars, playground and workplaces will allow everyone to breathe air they don’t have to worry about.

Just a final thought- some folks are suggesting that we allow bars and taverns to decide if they have vaping if they want to. This same argument was used for years to prevent clean in-door air laws from passing-“it should be the owner’s choice”. All the predictions about the economic downside of stopping smoking in restaurants and bars came to nothing, when the Clean In-Door Air Act passed in 2007.

Let’s not go backwards. Let’s prevent a new generation of nicotine ‘fiends’ among our youth. Let’s not allow the tobacco industry to glamorize addiction right next to the candy bars.

Christine Schutzman, CEASE Research Coordinator, former smoker and Tobacco Treatment Specialist

Vaping – the route away or back to smoking?

Written by: Christina Saunders

While many smokers believe vaping is an easy way to curb their appetite for nicotine and also assist them with quitting, they need to get the facts. Vaping

For those who don’t know, vaping is the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarette),  battery-powered devices that delivers a form of nicotine.Some e-cigarettes  mimic the feel of traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes are refillable or have a replaceable cartridge of liquid “juice” that contains nicotine, solvents and flavors. Users put the device to their mouths and suck in which causes the battery to heat the liquid solution, which is then atomized into an inhalable vapor.

In 2009, the American Lung Association issued a warning that e-cigarettes are harmful, and contain carcinogens and are absent FDA review and approval. Their advice was stay away! Vaporization is often used to refer to the physical destruction of an object by exposing it to intense heat. That sounds cool, but do you really want something that has been vaporized in your lungs? And vaping does not destroy nicotine, the same drug that is in regular cigarettes that keeps people addicted and prevents them from wanting to quit and live a healthier life.

In fact, many who are new to vaping are often lead to smoking cigarettes and many smokers using vaping to quit eventually return back to smoking cigarettes. Equally disturbing is the increase of vaping in young people. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette use among school-age children has tripled in the last three years, with half of the kids who reported vaping stating that they intended to smoke conventional cigarettes within the next year. Not only has vaping increased among children, but there have also been increased calls to poison centers for children under the age of 5 after they accidently ingested e-cigarette liquids.

If you are a smoker, safer and healthy routes away from smoking are available to you and CEASE can help.  For more information on how to quit all cigarettes, visit

CEASE Photo Voice Project

By Timeeka Addison

The CEASE Photo Voice project was one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had the pleasure of working with!  Over the summer, for 7 weeks, Maggie Davenport, Benn Eaton,  myself and occasionally, O’Shea Addison (a former Photo Voice participant), had the pleasure of working with 20 kids from Tunbridge Charter School and Waverly Middle School on a project, for Ms.  Sherita Henry’s doctoral thesis, for Morgan State University.

The students were randomly separated into two groups, Tobacco (Group 1) and Physical Activity & Nutrition (Group 2).  The Tobacco group would meet each week for 7 weeks while the Physical Activity and Nutrition group would meet only twice, the first and last weeks of the project.

Group 1 received hands-on guidance and skills training in communication, leadership, and critical thinking.  Each week they were to photograph 10 pictures of how they saw tobacco in their neighborhoods. The students eventually developed a narrative for two pictures as their final products.

Students in Group 2 chose a health condition or disease to report on and were asked to show how physical activity and proper nutrition could possibly improve that condition. They checked in with Ms. Henry on a weekly basis and kept a journal to show what they were developing.  These students also took 10 pictures a week and chose 3 to create a collage.  They worked very independently and were allowed to stretch their imaginations as far as they wished to get their points across.

Over the course of the 7 weeks, I witnessed a number of things with Group 1.  The shy and often soft spoken children that walked into the classrooms on the first week were transformed into confident, students, eager to share, who wanted to be heard.  The first couple of weeks the photographs were not necessarily from the community, but instead from magazines, the internet and even their own family members.  They didn’t quite have the courage to venture out and ask members of the community for permission to take their picture.  So, we took one class session and went out on a little field trip into the community.  On that outing, we saw the students gain the confidence to walk up to people, explain their project and get the best photos that they had taken thus far.  As a matter of fact, most of the photos that were chosen for the final selections were from the field trip.

Week 7 came so quickly and then the sessions were over.  The students walked in and were ready to show us what they had accomplished.  Group 1 was able to choose mats and frames then mount their own pictures.   Group 2 came in with their collages and journals and was equally proud of their finished projects.  It was amazing to see how much the students learned and how well they utilized the skills to produce such awesome pieces.  Just listening to them share how they chose their final pictures and came up with all of their ideas was so rewarding.  Some of their responses actually shocked me.  Some of the students actually got the interest of their family members and are asking about smoking cessation classes.  That for me was the highlight of it all.  To see that by educating the student, the parents got educated too.

We displayed the projects at Back to School Night at both schools in mid-September. The students, staff and family members were encouraged to look at the students finished work. On October 2nd  we are holding a gala event for the staff from both schools and the families of the participants, as well as interested community leaders and the press.  The most exciting part is that all of the students, from both groups and from both schools, will finally come together and share their experiences.  I can’t wait!

Waverly Walker Field Notes: Smoking Debris

Douglas William Garcia Mowbray – Waverly Improvement Association, Board of Directors

May 13, 2014. 6 in the p.m. Tonight’s walkers will meet at Chestnut Hill Park, 600 block of Chestnut Hill Avenue in northern Waverly. We walk north on Old York Road; I am pushing a stroller filled with Emerson, while Nayeli carries water for the flowers in the park’s planters. On Old York Road, along the curb, debris that dried up after a recent storm surge. First sign of cigarettes: dried butts that never quite made their way to the storm drain and  on to the bay. Next rain storm, they’ll get their second chance.

At the park, underneath the picnic bench, an empty cigarette box. Butts scattered about the benches, smashed into the worn ground where grass never grows, where grass never gets a chance to grow. Also, evidence of marijuana use—cigarillo wrappers and little clear zip-lock baggies. Typical debris when the weather is nice. More than one kind of ‘lighting up’ here, probably after dark when eyes from houses can’t see who’s there, what they are up to.

With CEASE coming to Waverly and this new attention on helping people kick a damaging habit, I notice the cigarette leftovers more.  When usually my eyes spy and lock on the scourge of the black plastic convenience bags, now I am transformed into a CSI—cigarette scene investigator.

Along the curbs, trails of butts washed out from the streets and sidewalks, grass and alleys. A city landscape turned so haphazardly into an ashtray. Each discarded cigarette butt like a Moses given over to the waters—to be adopted by the Chesapeake Bay; a self-inflicted plague, punishment of man on man, on all mankind, on all earthkind. I’ve read about a new trash device being deployed in the harbor—what an unnecessary expense if people upstream disposed of their waste properly or perhaps didn’t generate the waste at all.

Passing a man and his son, or grandson, maybe 8 years old, I nearly cough. The man is smoking.  How often does this child cough? What impression is made? Across the street, a worker going from his van to the house he is working on, finishes a smoke and flicks it into the bushes. If this was a really dry season, imagine the damage that mini-torch could do. (When the PSA with Smokey the Bear started showing up in the City I wondered why in the world they would try to teach people in an urban environment not to start fires in the forest. After discarding my blinders, I reread the message and it said ‘Only You Can Prevent Wildfires,’ which is a different message from my childhood—“Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.” Perhaps this PSA still needs an upgrade. I can’t imagine a bear is the best spokesperson in the City to teach people not to flick lit butts.)

My son, 20 months old, has had enough of the stroller and wants to walk. His pace is not brisk like ours. His world view is closer to the ground; unless a truck drives by or a helicopter flies overhead, he is transfixed by everything on the ground: rocks, leaves, twigs, ants, lots of ants, candy wrappers, broken glass—and cigarette butts. He knows ‘Yuck!’ by now and I am quick on the draw when he reaches for a butt—Yuck, Emerson, yuck! That’s trash Emerson, basura (Spanish for ‘trash). He stops to consider this.

At home, he knows basura goes into the trash can. Out here, there are no trash cans. We have no trash bag with us (sometimes on walks we do bring bags). We could spend hours on a small section of a block, or alley, disposing of basura. He knows, or is learning, to dispose of his own waste properly. What is he to make of all this waste around him? His instinct is to pick up trash and put it in its place. What’s the lesson here? Sometimes we ignore trash, sometimes we don’t? We do schedule clean-ups throughout the year and make a conscious effort to remove such waste, but what will his evolving mind make of the concept that on some days we pick up the yuck, we gather the butts, we snatch up the black plastic bags, while on most days we don’t bother to bend down, we go about our day, our evening, and we simply leave the trash where it is? Will Emerson think we are hypocrites for not being consistent in picking up trash? When will he understand that sometimes you just have to sigh with disappointment and move on down the sidewalk? When he can fully and clearly speak and reflect on his world and his own thoughts and impressions, will he ask me these questions, or will he interrogate strangers about their bad habits?

Jennifer Wallace writes in her latest collection of poems, It Can Be Solved by Walking, “It is impossible to attend to the whole world. And that is an embarrassment and an anxiety.” (from the poem Somewhere someone still digs…)

Waverly Walkers meets twice a month, May through October, the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, starting at 6 p.m., concluding around 7 p.m. Each walk starts at a designated spot and walkers set out to explore the neighborhood with the only path, the only destination, being a wider understanding and connection to the people of Waverly, to this place we call home. A full schedule of walks can be found at the Waverly Walkers blog.

Congratulations to our latest CEASE graduates


CEASE finished another wave of our 12 week smoking cessation classes with 16 graduates!  On April 16th we held a graduation ceremony at Wayman A.M.E. Church to celebrate their great achievements. Classes started in January and ended April 9th and in spite of the crazy winter, they continued until the end. We are so proud of those who fought to stay committed through the ups and downs.

If you or someone you care about smokes, get ready to sign up for new classes that will be starting in June!

CEASE is about making a lasting impact on people’s lives. Get involved by joining a class or support our vision by becoming a partner. You can find more information on our website:

We weren’t smoking- but we were cookin’!!

ceasecookingOn Saturday, March 29th CEASE participants and staff took a field trip to the “Simple ’Cooking from the Heart’ Kitchen” located at Stratford University Culinary College. Their chef, Tia Berry, gave cooking demonstrations at three of CEASE classes in March which everyone loved. So for  the first time CEASE took a road trip to visit and learn with one of our partners, and it went way beyond our expectations!

Greeted by a team of Chefs in their gleaming kitchen and bright white uniforms, we quickly learned proper knife techniques, tips for easier vegetable cleaning, spices better than salt,  how to store unused ingredients, and more.  Encouraged every step of the way, there was as much laughing as learning. When we finished cooking and cleaning, collected our recipes and said goodbye, we had our food ready to serve back home- enough for 4 and for only $5.

The Cooking from the Heart kitchen may have started out as a field trip for us, but we left wanting to come back again- to learn a healthier way to cook for sure, but also because when you cook with someone, a special connection is created…the kind of connection CEASE is all about.

For more information about the Simple ‘Cooking from the Heart” Kitchen, visit or call 410-246-6715.

The information contained in this blog is educational in nature and intent. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information presented is correct. However this information is not intended as professional medical advice nor as recommendations, neither should it be interpreted as the practice of medicine. Please feel free to use the information from this blog for educational and personal purposes, as long as it is properly cited.

Stress and smoking: How to manage stress?

stresskeepcalamStress is sometimes just a part of life. It can be like a cloud that is hanging over your head. Some people eat tubs of ice cream and fried chicken when they re stressed, while others do not eat at all! Many people that smoke do so because they are stressed. Every puff seems to make the stress less of a burden. But contrary to this popular belief, smoking actually causes more stress- making the stress cloud bigger and our ability to cope lower. We cannot allow stress to control our behaviors and keep us smoking. There are so many alternatives ways to deal with stress. Look at the list below and pick one to try today. If that one doesn’t seem so great, try another tomorrow:

Breathe deeply:  breathe in….. breathe out…. One more time. This is more than a cliché. This breathing technique is very efficient in reducing stress

Exercise: you don’t have to be training for a marathon. Taking a short walk will help you reduce stress

Talk to someone: it’s always great to have a person or group of people who support you. Share your feelings and allow them to encourage you.

Take a moment to rest: sometimes you have to get away, even its just 5 minutes in your car or a spa day. Make time for yourself, to do the things you enjoy the most or do nothing at all!

For more tips on healthier ways to reduce stress, visit the links below:



The information contained in this blog is educational in nature and intent. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information presented is correct. However this information is not intended as professional medical advice nor as recommendations, neither should it be interpreted as the practice of medicine.. Please feel free to use the information from this blog for educational and personal purposes, as long as it is properly cited.