Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, November 15, 2010

Great American Smokeout events support smoke-free campus

The American Cancer Society says stopping tobacco use, or not starting it, is the single most important thing a person can do to prevent cancer, as well as many other deadly diseases.

The 35th annual Great American Smokeout (GASO) on Thursday challenges people to quit tobacco for at least 24 hours. GASO Prepare to Quit Events will be held on all U-M campuses to support faculty, staff and students who want to quit tobacco before the university goes smoke-free in July 2011.

 

Tips for quitting tobacco

• Set a quit date.
• Ask for support from family, friends and coworkers.
• Get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays or tobacco products.
• Start an exercise program.
• Drink lots of water.
• Take deep breaths slowly when you have the urge to smoke.
• Wait. The urge to smoke will go away after about five minutes.
• Find things like chewing gum to use as cigarette substitutes.
• Go places where smoking is not allowed.
• Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking lowers your chances of success.
• Keep your hands busy.
• Change your routine.
• Consider using nicotine replacement.

The events are organized by MHealthy, in collaboration with University Health Service and Rackham Graduate School, and will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, at the following locations:

• Michigan Union, Ground Floor
• Rackham Graduate School, East Lounge
• Pierpont Commons, Atrium
• U-M Hospitals, Towsley Triangle
• UM-Flint, Harding Mott University Center, Third Floor

UM-Dearborn’s GASO event is scheduled from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday in Kochoff Hall C.

Free GASO Quit Kits, including quit-smoking information, mints, gum and other items to occupy hands and mouth while quitting, will be available at all locations, as well as information about the Smoke-Free Campus Initiative and the MHealthy Tobacco Independence Program, which offers incentives and free tobacco treatment counseling for benefits-eligible faculty, staff and their spouses and other qualified adults.

Apples and cider will be served at the Ann Arbor locations, and smokers who turn in a pack of at least 10 cigarettes also will receive a coupon for a free sandwich.

“Encouraging a person to quit for at least 24 hours through GASO may tempt them to try to quit for a longer period of time,” says Linda Thomas, manager of MHealthy Tobacco Consultation Service, which offers free tobacco treatment programs for U-M faculty, staff and patients. “Even if they don’t stay quit, little successes can help the person eventually quit for good. Many people try many times before they successfully quit.”

There are many benefits to quitting tobacco. The average pack-a-day smoker who quits can save close to $2,400 in a year, often reports feeling better and more energetic, and lives longer than people who keep smoking.

The American Cancer Society says smokers who quit before the age of 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half, compared to those who keep smoking. And the health benefits begin immediately upon quitting.

“For those who are ready to quit, the most important keys to success are to mark the quit date on your calendar; build a support network by telling your family and friends the date you plan to quit; have a plan for how you will deal with stressful and difficult situations, urges and friends who smoke; and talk to your physician about tobacco treatment aid options,” Thomas says.

Those who want assistance with quitting tobacco can contact the MHealthy Tobacco Consultation Service at 734-998-6222, or go to www.mhealthy.umich.edu/tobacco. For more information about GASO Prepare to Quit Events, go to www.mhealthy.umich.edu/gaso.