November 2006 meridian article

November 2006 Meridian Article-For Your Health Gotta Quit? (Smoking, that is)
By Cindy Kreisberg, Director, Student Health Center
November is Great American Smoke-Out Month. How many of you are still trying to
quit? How many of you have quit smoking only to restart with the stressors of college?
There are 1.1 million smokers in NYC. One New Yorker dies every hour from a
smoking-related illness.
Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to prolong your life and
those around you who inhale your second-hand smoke. Quitting at any time, any age will
improve your health. Your chance for successful smoking cessation is doubled using
nicotine replacement products such as nicotine gum, patches and medications such as
So how and where do you begin? Here are just a few tips.
1. Get ready. Take several days to really prepare by listing your reasons for quitting,
pay attention to when and why you smoke, figure out how you will spend your cigarette
savings including how you plan to reward yourself after you quit (maybe having your
teeth whitened?).
2. Think about using a nicotine replacement product. You may need to consult with
your doctor for the right combination for you.
3. Find a quitting buddy. Having the support of someone to talk with will help
4. Decide on a date to quit. Throw away those ashtrays and lighters…and those
5. Make your home smoke-free. Your family will thank you and you’ll be less
tempted to restart smoking.
6. Avoid craving triggers including coffee, alcohol, stress and friends who smoke.
7. Drink plenty of water and exercise. These will keep your spirits up, stress down
and begin your health improvement.
8. Try to avoid that first cigarette. It’s too easy to get smoking again so fight the
urge. Cravings only last 3-5 minutes so hang in there!
Don’t get caught up with the myths surrounding quitting smoking.
1. Quitting is not as expensive as smoking. A pack-a-day smoker spends about $2000
per year! Treatment costs are $3 to $10 a day. Some are even covered by health
insurance. Most treatments are only needed for 6 to 12 weeks.
2. You will not gain tons of weight! Most smokers usually gain less than 10 pounds
especially if they eat a healthy diet and exercise. Some of the nicotine replacement
medications may actually help delay weight gain.
3. Nicotine replacement medications are harmful. Tar, carbon monoxide and other
toxins in cigarettes are what’s harmful in cigarettes-not nicotine.
4. Counseling groups are embarrassing. Mutual support increases your chance of
quitting for good. Programs are available at local hospitals and health centers.

If you can’t afford nicotine replacement therapy, Take Care NY is a project sponsored
by the NYC Dept.of Health and Mental Hygiene which provides a six-week supply of
nicotine patches free of charge. Just call 311 to find your local distribution site.
So what if you fail at your first attempt? Then try, try, try again. Most people have to
try 2 or 3 times to quit smoking before they find success. Learn from what worked… or
what didn’t work. Remember, tobacco use is an addiction, not a bad habit. Most New
Yorkers who ever smoked have already quit, and most who continue to smoke want to
For more information visit or come by the Student Health Center in T-3,
Room 118.


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