Smoking cessation starts with behavior change

November 18, 2005

DuBois, Pa. -- Positive imagery and good eating habits help an addicted smoker or tobacco user begin to kick the habit. Marian Connolly, Freedom from Smoking facilitator from DuBois Regional Medical Center, visited Penn State DuBois and offered this advice Wednesday during events organized to celebrate the Great American Smoke Out, an annual nationwide awareness day focusing on the dangers of tobacco addiction. The official national recognition falls on the third Thursday of November.

"Think of yourself as a nonsmoker," Connolly advised, "then pare yourself down as to where you smoke. Choose one room to smoke in rather than the whole house."

Connolly was counseling Penn State DuBois student Terri Barrett of Curwensville, who visited the Quiet Lounge Wednesday planning to sign up for a smoking cessation class offered this January on the campus. Barrett did sign up and resolved to read tips on quitting and to follow Connolly's advice until the class starts.

"I'd like to quit, but I can't say I'm mentally ready," Barrett said. "This will give me the chance to re-program my brain between now and January."

Connolly further advised for Barrett to recognize what activities, foods or drinks typically lead her to smoke. Barrett said she always smokes when she drinks coffee. Recognizing and breaking down the association between a particular activity and tobacco use is an important first step toward quitting, Connolly said.

One common barrier preventing smokers from quitting is the potential for weight gain, Connolly said. Preparing the body by eating nutritious snacks instead of sugar-filled treats will minimize this effect, she advised. Pumping up water and fruit juices also will flush nicotine, the addictive drug in tobacco, through the system quicker, training the body to become accustomed to less nicotine, she said.

"People who are willing to put forth a behavior change on top of trying to quit have a better chance of quitting for good," Connolly said.

The counseling session on campus was one of several activities held Wednesday in observation of the Great American Smoke Out. A costumed character cigarette butt strolled campus, coughing and reminding students and visitors of the day's activities. An artificial lung breathed realistically at the student union, comparing a healthy lung to ones with emphysema and cancer. Information from the American Cancer Society and healthy snacks also were provided at the cafeteria.

  • Penn State DuBois student Kem Parada dressed as a cigarette butt to warns students in a wildlife technology class about the dangers of tobacco use.

    IMAGE: Erin D. Chorney

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010