As of January 1, 2016, Clemson University joined the more than 1,600 other institutions of higher learning in becoming tobacco free. Under the official policy, smoking and the use of any and all other forms of tobacco are prohibited. Not a problem if you don’t use tobacco; but what if you do? One good answer is to quit, which will bring other benefits; and the sooner you quit, the better, so that you can avoid the risks associated with using tobacco.
First, let’s look at the benefits of tobacco use.
Now, the risks of using tobacco, which kills more people annually than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.
- Cancer, such as lung, throat, mouth, esophagus and colon cancers
- Heart disease, stroke, vascular disease
- Respiratory illnesses, such as shortness of breath and, eventually emphysema
- Lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
- Problems with pregnancy, including infertility and low-weight babies.
- Early death: on average, smokers die 14 years earlier than non-smokers
More than 68% of the people who use tobacco (in the U.S) say they would like to quit. However, tobacco is addictive. The good news is there are many ways to address this condition.
HOW TO GET HELP
- Visit Clemson’s Tobacco Cessation website for a range of resources, including links to articles, help lines, text and web support, and more.
- Make an appointment with a medical provider at Redfern who can write you a prescription for a nicotine-replacement medication or therapy. Most insurance plans cover the cost of these medications, which you can have filled at Redfern’s pharmacy. The pharmacy also offers many over-the-counter tobacco-cessation products.
- Seek individual counseling. Clemson’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers free and confidential tobacco cessation counseling and can help if you’re dealing with stress and anxiety related to quitting tobacco.
- Use a phone app, such as one of those found on Clemson’s Tobacco-Free Campus website. These convenient apps can help you prepare to quit, monitor your progress, help you manage cravings, share your progress through social media and get you back on track if you slip.
- Subscribe to a tobacco-cessation program delivered by text. A study funded by the Medical Research Council found that programs like these significantly improved cessation rates and recommended that they be included as a viable option for that purpose.
- Visit the Centers for Disease Control page, “I’m Ready to Quit!” where you can find resources that will help you make a plan, find social support, sign up for free texts and download a free tobacco-cessation app.
- Groups like Smokers Anonymous or Nicotine Anonymous offer chat rooms, phone meetings and other resources, as well as regular meetings (although currently there are none in the area).
There’s no time like the present; especially if you want to quit using tobacco. You know why you should. How many reasons do you have not to?
Thursday, Nov. 16 is the Great American Smokeout. If you’re a tobacco-user, this is the perfect day to quit or make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit tobacco that day. By quitting, even for one day, you will be taking an important step towards a healthier life.