Quit or Die

Scott Viau

Although a person may start smoking at any age, it’s almost never too late to give it up and lead a healthy life. In order to do so, though, the smoker must learn self-discipline and truly want to make a change.

As part of the Great American Smokeout, Health Promotion Specialist Lenny Shible is helping to present a Skill Builder! on how to finally kick the habit and make it work for you or someone you know.

Shible hopes the Skill Builder! will prepare those people who have made the decision to quit and to inform those who are still questioning.

“We’re trying to provide people with information for themselves or for people they might be concerned about,” Shible said.

Shible went on to give some of his thoughts on why people start smoking in the first place. Shible said the reasons range from starting out of a sense of rebellion or maybe just to fit in.

“I think peer pressure is an issue,” Shible said. “People know that if you’re trying to fit in and there happens to be a peer group that’s smoking, regardless of who you are or what you do, you’re going to pick up a cigarette just like you’re going to pick up a beer or a joint.”

One of the less obvious reasons, according to Shible, would include growing up in a household where smoking was normal behavior.

While many people can attest to just how hard it is to quit smoking, Shible said the first step is to start picturing yourself as a non-smoker.

“If you think of yourself as a non-smoker who slipped into smoking, that’s a more positive place to be than a smoker who’s trying to quit,” Shible said.

In addition to physical withdrawals, being in a certain place or doing a certain activity can trigger a craving, and it’s these situations that must be recognized and changed.

“It’s important that you avoid places where cigarettes are being smoked and people who happen to smoke,” Shible said.

Although the dangers of smoking have been made known for many years, a new product is on the market that claims smokers can get their nicotine fix without suffering the consequences of tar and smoke damage to their lungs. This product is known as the E-Cigarette.

“There’s a lot of controversy about it,” Shible said. “My sense is that the folks that are attempting to provide support for people trying to quit will say that that’s probably not the best option because there’s still not enough research done on it to determine long-term effects.

For sophomore pre-med ecology major Corey Green, the decision to quit smoking came when he was stricken by a bout of pneumonia and influenza.

“It’s always been a constant health issue,” Green said. “My grandma died from lung cancer. She was a smoker for a really long time. It was more common sense to quit. I just never did until now.”

Prior to that, Green had been an off and on smoker since the age of 16. The most Green had been smoking was about half a pack in one day. He said he became a smoker because he had friends who smoked.

Green has been without a cigarette for around a month now, but still feels the urge to smoke every now and then.

“If I see people smoking that’s when I really crave it. That’s my number one weakest point. Usually, I’m pretty good about it,” Green said. “It’s just one of those conscious things. [I’d think] ‘You don’t need to be doing that.’ It’s just a constant reminder.”

The Skill Builder! for the 2009 Great American Smokeout takes place Nov. 19 at 12 p.m. in LRC room 111i. There will also be an information table on the first floor of the LRC on Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. with literature on how to quit smoking.