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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Hyperlocal Humanitarian

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the smoking ban pertaining to public housing. This week I

wanted to talk about quitting smoking, specifically because Thursday is the Great American Smoke out.

First of all, I would like to tell you up front that although I do not know you, I do know that quitting

smoking is not easy. I can also tell you that I am not judgmental or critical of you because you smoke

because I understand the complexities that are involved in perpetuating tobacco use. Working as a

tobacco treatment specialist has allowed me to talk with people everyday about the pros and cons of


Yes I said pros because if smoking was not reinforcing, you would not engage in the act nor

spend the money needed to buy cigarettes. The thing is that smoking is extremely detrimental to your

health but I am positive that you already know this so I will not list the risks here and do not wish to

sound condescending. My intent is tell you that I understand the difficulty involved in quitting but to

also tell you that help is available and that there is no time like the present to make this change.


If you have been thinking about quitting smoking, there are several things to keep in mind.

One is that smoking is reinforcing because of the conditioning that takes place over the years. There

are emotional and environmental triggers that become conditioned over time with the act of smoking.

Also, the peripheral effects of nicotine include relaxation and stress reduction so it is understandable

why smoking is maintained when we consider these effects.

Furthermore, nicotine is one of the most addictive substances that make quitting difficult because the body is accustomed to having a steady level of nicotine. In order to maintain comfort levels and to prevent withdrawal effects, smoking is

commenced. Also, the social aspects of smoking, in other words, smoking during breaks, at parties and

in events usually associated with alcohol use; are also intertwined with smoking. In looking at all these

variables, it is easy to understand that smoking is not just a habit; it is an addiction. It is also a learned

behavior that can be unlearned with planning, patience and by utilizing supports.


If you have been thinking about quitting smoking or helping someone quit, there is no better

time to do so because on November 18th, the American Cancer Society is sponsoring its yearly Great

American Smoke out, an annual event where individuals make the commitment to stop smoking. I speak

with people of all ages and life experiences who reveal that trying to quit smoking is one of the most

difficult things they have attempted to do.

However, supports are available that make the process of quitting easier. Using a quit smoking medication and obtaining supports via a stop smoking program or by calling a local quit line can significantly improve cessation outcomes. Consider making November 18th your quit date, there will be many individuals around the country attempting to quit so you will not

be alone. In fact, there are currently more former smokers than current smokers so quitting is indeed



University Health Services and the Student Wellness Center will be sponsoring a series of events

pertaining to tobacco use this month. Stop by the Campus Center Terrace on November 18, 2010 from

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to receive information and supportive cessation resources. Make 2010 the year that

you quit smoking for good, you deserve to make this commitment to yourself and the Great American

Smoke Out is just the event to lend you the support needed to become smoke free.