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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE seminar helps smokers quit, shows consequences

NE seminar helps smokers quit, shows consequences

By Shanda Block/entertainment editor

nosmokingCigarettes are actually not harmful until lit.

More than 4,000 chemicals and at least 43 carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances, are found in every cigarette.

These and many other facts were part of the speech Tips on How to Quit Smoking that Keisha Leatherman of Tarrant County Public Health presented in a PowerPoint.

Pat Marling, NE Campus health services coordinator, brought the program here and was pleased with the results.

“The students were very receptive. All of our feedback was very positive,” Marling said.

A slide titled “Deciding to Quit” had the audience ask themselves why they should quit, what method they should use to stop and how they would stay smoke-free.

“Most people who attempt the first time are not going to be successful,” Leatherman said.

Then she told the audience to plan new ways of staying smoke-free and stick to those ways.

“Nicotine is an immediate quick fix,” Leatherman said. 

The problem is that it lasts only a short time, so smokers like them more. Without a ‘quick fix,’ smokers start having withdrawals, Leatherman said.

“A lot of people self-medicate for depression,” she said.

Yet the brain never forgets. Even after years of being smoke-free, anyone can easily pick the habit of smoking right back up if smokers don’t stay strong, Leatherman said.

Another slide on the PowerPoint was titled “Why Quit?” Quitting stops damaging effects like premature wrinkling, bad breath and many other things. It is a common belief smoking causes only lung cancer, but that isn’t the case, Leatherman said.

Other cancers can occur such as those of the lung, mouth, voice box, kidney, pancreas and bladder. Bronchitis is also a possible side effect. Smoking can lead to emphysema, for which there is no cure yet.

Of the thousands of chemicals found in cigarettes, a few of the chemicals include acetone (nail polish remover), ammonia (cleaning chemicals), cyanide (poison), formaldehyde (embalming fluid), nicotine (nerve toxin), phenol (toilet disinfectant) and tar (sticky brown substance).

Some cigarettes have flavor enhancers, which may add to cancer-causing chemicals. Because they are more harmful than regular cigarettes, Congress passed a law banning flavored cigarettes. It took effect Sept. 22.

The next slide showed the audience that lung cancer is the leading type of cancer for men and women, as well as the most preventable. The slide also showed a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung, which is smaller and full of ash.

Lungs never go back to normal after smoking, but the benefits of stopping are almost immediate.

A slide asked the audience, “Why Quit?” a second time. The answer was simply that 46 million in the U.S. have already done it. It gets easier each day, Leatherman said.

“It’s about the quality of life that we live those long years,” she said.

One pack a day will cost a user $1,850 a year. In five years, that adds up to $9,250. Leatherman said tobacco companies are rich. They spend $11 billion a year for advertising.

Leatherman told the audience that smoking is really a social event. It’s contagious for more than one person to go outside for a cigarette break. Yet for the non-smokers, it is an awkward thing to walk into.

“One of these kids is not like the other,” she said. “I’m not holding a cigarette.”

When a smoker hasn’t had a cigarette, his or her blood pressure drops to normal in just 20 minutes. After one to nine months without one, the body’s overall energy increases. The positive effects of quitting over a longer period of time continue to do better for the ex-smoker’s body.

Instructor Lisa Self brought her education class to the speech.

“I thought she was very well-informed with her info even as a non-smoker. She knew exactly what she was talking about. I think she gave some very concrete tips of how to stop smoking,” she said about Leatherman.

Want to stop smoking? Simple steps to resist temptation:

*Avoid people and places where you’re tempted to smoke

*Avoid triggers

*Switch to juices or water instead of alcohol or coffee (the latter two are usually hand-in-hand with a cigarette)

*Take a different route to work

*Get oral substitutions such as gum, hard candy, etc.

*Take deep breaths

*Do activities

*Delay (wait to light up at least 10 minutes after a craving)

*Reward yourself. Keep a jar with a picture of something you want on it. Put change in the jar until you save enough to buy the item.

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