Campus News

Oberlin Helps Smokers Quit in Great American Smokeout

November 19, 2014

Office of Communications

The college is encouraging smokers to quit by participating in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 20. The date is a way to plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit that day.

Quitting—even for one day—is an important step toward a healthier life and reduces the risk of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes—just under 1 out of every 5 adults.

Oberlin’s Counseling Center and Office of Student Health are providing services for anyone who wants to quit smoking.

The Counseling Center can provide short-term individual cessation counseling, as well as a group program based on a model developed by the American Lung Association, for students wanting to quit. Two of the Counseling Center’s therapists have been trained to facilitate this program.

For those who wish to join the Counseling Center's smoking cessation program, Student Health will provide a free, one-time starter kit of the Nicoderm patch and Nicorette gum. Students who want to quit should plan ahead by making an appointment with Student Health, picking up the quit kit and setting a quit date.

“Smoking tobacco is an addiction,” says John Harshbarger, director of Student Health and Counseling Services. “About 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit, and about half try to quit each year, yet only a small percentage succeed without help. This is because smokers not only become physically dependent on nicotine, but there’s also a strong emotional (psychological) dependence; this is what leads to relapse after quitting. The smoker may link smoking with social activities and many other activities, too.

“Smokers also may use tobacco to help manage unpleasant feelings and emotions, which can become a problem when trying to quit,” he says. “All of these factors make smoking a hard habit to break. In fact, research shows that it may be harder to quit smoking than to stop using cocaine or opiates like heroin.”

However, research also shows that smokers who have support are more likely to quit for good, according to the American Cancer Society.

On Thursday, members of Student Health Services will have an information table in Mudd Library. They will provide quit kits and information about cessation programs.

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