The Great American Smoke Out

Karina Krul

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The Great American Smoke Out is an event that happens nation-wide every year to encourage those who smoke to quit for just one day. It has been happening now for forty years and, while there is now less publicity, it is still going strong.   The concept is that if quitting for a day can be accomplished, the next step can be quitting for a second day, and then a third day and so on.

“The event also relies on those who will support the smoker in being a tag- along friend, giving them lollipops or chewing gum, anything to make the person not smoke,” said Paula Cappuccia, Director of Health Services.

While this event happens once a year, it is an important stepping stone in helping those who smoke quit their habit.

The University of New Haven has been participating in the Smoke Out for many years by hosting tables in the health services foyer. At these tables they offer registration for cessation programs for both students and staff as well as free nicotine patches.

Throughout the day, information packets will be available with these sign ups and handouts. Health Services encourages all students who want more information about smoking and how to quit, regardless of whether they smoke or not, to come to the tables with friends. The goal of the day is to both help those who smoke to quit, sas well as to educate everyone on the struggles of quitting and the need for strong support systems.

UNH has taken many measures to make our campus environment healthier. It is widely known that, since June 1, the UNH campus has been tobacco free, and it is noteworthy to mention that many colleges have taken the example and followed suit.

Southern Connecticut State University went tobacco free shortly after UNH, in August, and Yale University is currently in the process of doing the same thing. UNH has continuously been a role model for othrt aspiring healthy campuses.

An anonymous interview with a previous smoker revealed not only the the negative effects of smoking, but also the overwhelming struggle that comes with quitting.

“I threw a blood clot in my lung and was afraid, at 28 years old, that I would die,” said the former smoker. “That was when I made the decision to quit cold turkey. It was very difficult and I remember feeling on edge most of the day. I felt like I had all this pent -up energy and I could never get it out. I was never calm. I was put on an antidepressant to take the edge off and I stayed away from all the places I used to smoke. Six months to feel like myself again. It’s not easy.”

To support the Great American Smoke Out, students can stop by the tables at Health Services on Nov. 19.

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The Great American Smoke Out