Snuff out smoking habit

Snuff out smoking habit

by Kate Paulman

We’ve all seen and heard the ads, the ones that tell us how bad smoking is for us and how it can either kill us quickly or slowly. Yet, 6.4 million children living today will die prematurely because they decided to smoke and tobacco use remains as the leading cause of preventable death in America, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

However, out of the 35 million smokers who make a serious attempt to quit each year, only about 7 percent are successful, according to

While, it’s a popular New Year’s resolution, are college students able to kick the habit?

It is no wonder students would have trouble putting down that cigarette. To get any use of out many online resources aimed at smokers, a premium fee is required.

For example, QuitNet, a Web site that operates in association with Boston University School of Public Health, requires a yearly fee of $39.95 to get the most basic information to quit smoking.

The prohibitive cost is one reason freshman Melissa Lancaster has not yet been able to quit.

“If it were less expensive it would be more of an option,” Lancaster said. “I don’t use any products because I can’t afford them.”

Lancaster has been smoking for two years and is on her fourth or fifth attempt to quit smoking. Currently, she is trying to cut back to smoking five or six cigarettes a day, compared to a pack a day when she says she was “at her worst.”

Besides internet resources, prescription nicotine replacement therapy is available.

According to, NRT is not addictive the way cigarettes are. The dosage of nicotine is strong enough to reduce withdrawal symptoms but not enough to be addictive. NRT does not contain the harmful tars, toxins and other cancer causing substances found in cigarettes.

Nicotrol offers three different choices for people who are looking for help quitting. The Nicotrol inhaler, patch and nasal spray are all available by prescription. Nicotrol claims that the use of any one of these products can “double a smoker’s chance of quitting.”

The inhaler is designed to satisfy a smoker’s craving for nicotine as well as give them something to do with their hands. However, the importance of the incorporation of the hand-to-mouth action of smoking in quitting has yet to be determined. This product is designed for smokers who feel anxious without a cigarette in their hands, as 41 percent of potential quitters said they felt, according to Nicotrol.

Perhaps the most recognizable anti-smoking aid is the nicotine patch. The patch is placed on the body for a set period of time and slowly release nicotine to reduce cravings.

Like the inhaler, Nicotrol claims that smokers who use the patch are “twice as likely to succeed than with cold turkey.” The patch is designed for users to quit in increments. Smokers set their level according to their need.

Another popular support product is Nicorette Gum. This offers the same nicotine as other NRT products, but users chew this gum on a time scale based on how long they have used Nicorette. The cost of Nicorette over a twelve week period is comparable to a pack and a half a day smoking habit, which can be formidable for college students.

Besides expensive aids and internet support groups, family and friends are important when trying to stop smoking, according to Lancaster.

“My family tries to keep me busy,” Lancaster said. “Like if I try to say that I’m going downstairs to have a cigarette they’ll get on my case about it. They tell me I stink and then I feel bad for wanting to smoke.”

Ultimately, Lancaster feels that the need to quit must come from within.

“In my head I want to quit more than I have before,” said Lancaster.

“I’m worried about my health. My grandpa died of lung cancer and my dad will probably get it. I think of that and it motivates me.”