Dr. Isabel Goldenberg is the director of Student Health Service.
The American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout is taking place around the country today. People who smoke are encouraged to evaluate their smoking, make a plan to quit or commit to not smoking for one day. Friends and relatives are urged to give their support.
Heavy smoking is typically defined as smoking 10 or more cigarettes daily. Most people who smoke at this level both consider themselves to be a “smoker” and are labeled such by others. The good news is that this type of smoking is decreasing in the U.S.
However, about half of smokers in the U.S., including many college students, view themselves as light or social smokers who typically smoke a few cigarettes daily. Increasingly, young adults, including college students, engage in light or social smoking.
Many light smokers do not consider it to be a problem and do not think that the smoking cessation messages apply to them. But smoking cigarettes can, over time, increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
GW will be participating in this year’s Great American Smokeout with tables around campus and the introduction of our new Colonials Clean Air Crew, a group of students, faculty and staff getting involved to help make our campus a healthier place.
So far, we have had close to 40 students, faculty and staff enroll in our “Quit for Life” smoking cessation program after the first 3 months, and the numbers continue to increase. Information on quitting, coaching support, as well as nicotine replacement therapy is provided.
But there are still many students on this campus who smoke, and today is the day to quit.