Three CSU students proved cigarette addiction can be defeated despite the fact that it is as difficult to quit smoking cigarettes as it is to quit using heroin, cocaine or alcohol combined, according to health educator Gwen Sieving.
CSU’s Hartshorn Health Center has a tobacco cessation program for students who want to learn more about tobacco and ways to quit or cut back.
Sieving is the main counselor for the tobacco cessation program.
“I needed her to give me a push,” said Regan Wilcox, a senior psychology major.
Wilcox was smoking anywhere from half a pack to one and a half packs a day. It took her three and a half months to finally quit smoking all together.
“(To quit), I had to change my life,” Wilcox said.
She said she had to quit going to the bars, a place where drinking and smoking went hand in hand.
“It was one of those cold turkey kinds of things,” Wilcox said.
There are other ways to quit besides cold turkey, however.
“I knew that I could not quit cold turkey,” said Eric Clavadetscher, a junior technical journalism major.
While trying to quit using the tobacco cessation program, Clavadetscher said he found himself thinking about smoking more when he was quitting than when he actually smoked.
“It’s just really hard to completely eliminate cigarettes out of your daily life, especially when you have smoked every day for five years,” Clavadetscher said.
To stop his cravings, Clavadetscher said he would often chew on a pen and flick it as if he were ashing a real cigarette.
“All you have to do is to replace the time you would usually spend smoking by doing something else and the cravings will pass,” Clavadetscher said.
Like Wilcox, Clavadetscher said the hardest thing about quitting was that it required a complete lifestyle change.
“You no longer smoke after studying, class, eating, drinking, sex or whatever else,” Clavadetscher said. “It’s just a change.”
Clavadetscher said he started smoking because cigarettes were always around him.
“I kept away from it for a while and then I began to get curious,” Clavadetscher said. “I’m pretty sure I did not like it, but I kept on smoking occasionally and soon it increased to a daily activity and eventually I became addicted.”
For Jerusha Hall, a senior animal science major, smoking was a social event.
“(Smoking cigarettes) quickly brought me into a group of people,” Hall said.
Although Hall has not completely quit smoking, she has cut back from one and a half packs a day to an average of five cigarettes.
“On a good day I’ll smoke anywhere from one to three,” Hall said. “On a bad day, up to 10.”
Hall said she tries to smoke only half of each cigarette she lights up.
“The process of quitting was not doing it all at once,” Hall said.
She said cutting back involved eliminating specific cigarettes throughout the day. Although she said she wants to completely quit smoking, Hall said she realizes it is not going to be an overnight thing.
“It’s a habit I’ve been practicing for almost 10 years,” Hall said.
And although Hall has tried to quit before and failed, she said this time is different.
“I think before when I wanted to quit, it was for other people,” Hall said, “but this time it for me.”
Hall suggests to people who want to consider cutting back or quitting cigarettes to find a true reason why they want to quit.
“I think people need to think about it intelligently,” Hall said.
There are many resources out there to help someone quit and getting support is very important, Hall said.