Time to Quit?
November 16, 2009 —
“It’s never too late to quit smoking,” said Sara Peeples, a health educator on campus.
For anyone who wants to, help is on the way.
Nov. 19 is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, a national event in which participants take the first step to quitting by going tobacco-free for a day. At SVSU, on-campus organizations have honored this day for the last three years to encourage students to break the habit.
The Peer Health Educators and the Student Counseling Center will host a booth in the Cardinal Cage on Thursday to promote awareness on ways to stop smoking.
An SVSU organization called Students Against Cancer will also have a booth in the Cage, located near the Student Life Center. The group is collecting signatures to petition for a smoke-free work environment in the community.
At SVSU, anyone interested in quitting can find information, resources and “quit kits.” The quit kits include a piece of gum, rubber band, Play-Doh and tips to stop smoking.
The kits’ supplies are meant to help distract the mind when one feels the urge to smoke. The tips include ideas for handling the desire to light up and goals to achieve during the quitting process.
Any person willing to give up half a pack of cigarettes will receive a turkey sandwich in honor of quitting “cold turkey.”
“It’s great that SVSU is trying to help smokers quit in a positive way,” said Carah Schalow, a nonsmoker and undecided sophomore.
Students such as Courtney Poffinbarger feel that smoking during college is just a stress reliever.
“I plan on quitting by the time I graduate,” Poffinearger said.
Angela Meyer, a biology and chemistry senior, is working alongside Peeples to get the awareness out.
“If for one day a person can stop smoking, then they have the power to quit long-term,” she said.
The benefits of doing so go beyond health. On average, a person who smokes a pack a day spends $2,555 in one year.
To demonstrate this, Peer Health Education is hanging money outside the Real Food on Campus cafeteria. This way, students can see how much goes into a cigarette habit.
“I smoke less because of the cost,” said Dustin Holbin, an undecided freshman interested in visiting the booth. “I have tried quitting before, but it has become a habit.”
Erica Thomas, a psychology freshman, said the decision is personal.
“I will quit smoking when I am ready and won’t give into the pressures of people telling me to quit,” she said.
Peeples said she thinks the day is important because people who want to stop can benefit from hearing positive suggestions.
Research suggests that quitting smoking has both short- and long-term results. According to studies, 20 minutes after a cigarette, a smoker’s blood pressure and heart rate drops. Within five years of quitting, a person’s chances for a stroke will have decreased.
Peeples said counselors are available to help anyone considering how to quit.
For more information about the day, visit the American Cancer Society’s Web site at www. cancer.org.