Recently Muhlenberg College announced that it will become a smoke and tobacco-free campus starting in August of 2019. Muhlenberg College will join over 2,000 colleges nationwide who have instituted similar policies. Smoking, both traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, is a serious public health issue, especially for young adults. More than 80 percent of traditional smokers started smoking before the age of 18 and surveys have found that over 40 percent of high school students have used an electronic cigarette at least once. The nicotine in both types of cigarettes is extremely addictive and using these products in even small quantities can have adverse health effects.

Since the College understands that nicotine is extremely addictive, they have collaborated with a local hospital to bring a smoking cessation program to the campus. This is a seven week program, that will begin on Mar. 11 and go through April 29. The group will meet once a week from 6:00 p.m.- 7:15 p.m.

This group composed of faculty, staff, and students will be provided with free traditional tobacco cessation therapies, such as nicotine patches, for the first four weeks. After that period, the cost will be $120, which is comparable to the price of vaping pods or cigarettes for a person who smokes a moderate amount.

If this program is not convenient for people, there a couple of cessation programs also being offered close by, at Cedar Crest College. These programs range in times and days of the week in an attempt to try and accommodate ranging schedules.

People who have been smoking for a long time may wonder if there is any point in quitting since they have already done so much damage to their body, but they are wrong. The CDC has released a timeline of all the positive physiological changes your body undergoes when you stop smoking.

Within 12 hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal. Your risk of heart attack declines after just three months of quitting. One year after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker. Within 10 years of quitting, your risk of lung cancer is half that of a smoker. And within 15 years of quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker.

If you are looking to quit and need help, but do not know where to start, you can contact the American Lung Association Hotline at 1-800-LUNGUSA. This hotline can help you learn about the benefits of quitting and how to deal with cigarette cravings.

If you are currently a smoker and you are trying to quit, Lehigh Valley Health Network offers the following tips: choose a date to quit and stick to it, choose a family member or friend to support you, just because you fail once does not mean that you should stop trying, and try spending time in areas where you can not smoke. They also gives some suggestions for how to distract yourself from cravings: try exercise, contact your support person, chew gum, eat a healthy snack, listen to music, take a warm shower or bath, and most importantly remind yourself of the reasons you want to quit.

The American Lung Association offers some guidance for someone who is trying to help a smoker quit. First of all, be there for them and support them even if they fail because many smokers have to try quitting a few times before they can quit for good. Do not nag or scold your friend, it will not work. Instead focus on being supportive of their efforts. Spend time with them, and help them stay away from places where people will be smoking. Lastly, reward their efforts. It can be simple like letting them pick what movie to see or it can be bigger like taking them out to dinner when they reach a milestone. Most importantly, support your friend because nicotine withdrawal can a really tough transition. Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult but by using the programs and people around you, it can be done.


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