#DolphinsLiveWell: Coming in July, 2015 … Tobacco-Free Le Moyne!!!

Leanna Kaufman ’15, Tobacco Cessation Counselor

Everyone knows that smoking affects the lungs, but not everyone knows that smoking also causes a multitude of other life-threatening problems such as kidney, stomach and pancreatic cancers; high blood pressure that leads to various health issues, cataracts, and the list could go on for days. On the less threatening scale, cigarettes can be the reason for several other daily concerns. With New York charging a state tax of $4.35 per pack of cigarettes, it is the highest ranking cigarette tax in the entire U.S. Cigarettes cost an average person, smoking a pack a day, $2,084.15 over the course of a year. For many people, the money used to purchase cigarettes can be a financial hardship and eventually evolve into a large sum of debt. Smoking cigarettes can become a private and personal matter when it starts affecting your sex life as well. Research has shown that cigarette and tobacco use can cause impotence in men as well as infertility in women. If that doesn’t put a damper on your day, I don’t know what will.

So the question is, why do people smoke? Well, there are over 4,000 different chemicals in one cigarette; most are too difficult to even pronounce, but besides sewer gas, lighter fluid and rocket fuel, there is nicotine. When nicotine is not used for cigarettes, you can find it in the insecticide right next to your toilet cleaner, which contains ammonia, a “flavoring” component to cigarettes. Nicotine is the addictive substance in all cigarettes that forms the habit. This habit can be life-long and is a true battle when trying to quit.

However, there is hope. The moment you put that cigarette down your body begins to “repair itself”. According to The Bacchus Network, within 20 minutes of quitting, your “blood pressure, pulse rate and body temperature return to normal” and within 48 hours your “nerve endings start re-growing and your ability to smell and taste things is enhanced”. Just think, within a matter of minutes to hours your body starts to heal. Can you imagine what quitting would do for you in a matter of years?

Let’s not forget about smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes!  Smokeless tobacco is a blanket term that refers to a number of tobacco products that are used by means other than smoking including include chewing, sniffing, placing the product between the teeth and gum, and application to the skin.   Chewing tobacco and snuff contain 28 cancer-causing agents and users have an increased risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity.  E-cigarettes, while the research isn’t all in, still carries some potential health threats:  even though the solution vaporizes, it is still a direct nicotine hit to the back of the throat.  And even if you choose a solution without nicotine, there are still 28 harmful chemicals going into your body!

As of July 1, 2015 Le Moyne College is going completely tobacco free. Check out our countdown calendar at http://lemoyne.edu/AZIndex/HumanResources/TobaccoFree/tabid/3317/Default.aspx. The college offers trained cessation counselors who are here to guide and support you through the process of quitting tobacco products. This support leads to a happier and healthier lifestyle. For students who are thinking of quitting smoking we have five counselors at the Wellness Center, as well as four students who are trained as peer counselors for tobacco cessation. Faculty and staff of Le Moyne have two specially trained counselors in smoking, cessation that are available upon appointment at the Wellness Center.  Our office hours are from 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday. For faculty and staff who have Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, we urge you to visit our web page at the Wellness Center or through Human Resources to get started and receive free support and resources to “Quit for Life”.