Thursday, July 14, 2016

Smoking: The Ugly Truth

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, killing 480,000 Americans each year. Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term health problems. For every smoking related death, at least 30 Americans live with a smoking related illness. Currently, there are over 1.3 billion people in the world that smoke.

Direct Effects of Smoking
Smoking has been directly linked to many health risks such as:
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Respiratory Disease
  • Preterm delivery for infants
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Fertility issues
  • Decreased bone health
  • Infections in gums and teeth
  • Increased risk of cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Skin Disease
  • Decreased Immune system
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Cancer

Additionally, smoking has been linked to several types of cancer including, but not limited to: acute myeloid leukemia, pancreatic, kidney, bladder, blood, colorectal, liver, larynx, throat, mouth, cervical, uterus, stomach, esophageal, and most significantly, lung cancer.

Indirect Effects of Smoking
Not only does smoking directly effect ones health, but it also indirectly effects many other aspects of the consumer’s life, such as finances. For example, the average price of cigarettes in the United States is $5.51 per pack. Let's say that the consumer, on average, smokes one pack per day. One pack per day at $5.51 totals $8.37 per week, which totals $2,011.15 every year! Other indirect effects of smoking include:

Higher Insurance Rates
Compared to non-smokers, smokers pay higher insurance rates on average. This is because smokers are more susceptible to infection and disease than those who do not smoke.

5% of America’s employers prefer to hire non-smokers, while 1% will not hire smokers at all. In a study published by the Journal of American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers concluded that non-smokers were nearly 25% more likely to be selected for a job than non-smokers.

Personal Finances
Smokers can potentially lose thousands of dollars on the resale value of their homes and cars if they smoke in them. The Respiratory Health Association (2013) reported that smoking in your home can reduce its value anywhere from 10 to 29 percent, with 20 percent being the average.

Common Smoking Concerns & Solutions

Problem: I will crave a cigarette.

Solution: Experiencing cravings is common when quitting smoking. Most cravings will only last a few minutes and over time, the urges will get weaker and occur less often.

Problem: Withdrawals are uncomfortable.

Solution: The first few weeks after quitting smoking are usually the most difficult and uncomfortable. Smokers who are in the process of quitting usually experience withdrawals for the first 8-12 weeks. However, the longer you go without smoking, the more comfortable you become with your lifestyle change.

Problem: I might gain weight.

Solution: Gaining a few extra pounds is normal, but with exercise and healthy eating, you can help decrease how much weight you put on.

Problem: Smoking is part of me.

Solution: Long-time smokers often make this argument, as they have spent most of their lives smoking. To replace smoking, take up another hobby. Yoga, sports, reading, writing, and gardening are just a few examples!

Freedom From Smoking
The Health Education Resource Center provides Freedom From Smoking® class here on campus to students, faculty and staff! This 7 week group clinic, developed by the American Lung Association, includes 8 sessions with a step-by-step plan to quit smoking. Each session is designed to help smokers gain control over their behavior. The clinic format encourages participants to work on the process and problems of quitting, both individually and as part of a group. Click here to register.

Faculty and staff clinics will be held from noon until 1 PM at the Health Education Resource Center (Booth House) on 4th Street, located behind Jerry's Pizza. The clinics take place on the following days:
  • August 31, September 7, September 14, September 21, September 23, September 28, October 5, and October 12.

Student clinics will be held from 4 PM to 6 PM in the Paris Room of the MLK Union, with the exception of October 4th. The October 4th session will take place in the Sullivan Room of the MLK Union. The clinics take place on the following days:
  • September 6, September 13, September 20, September 27, September 29, October 4, October 11, and October 18.

Please note: There is a fee to participate. The cost is $30 for students and $75 for state employees. Upon completion of the program, state employees may submit for reimbursement through Central Management Services.

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