Fraternity offers ‘Adopt-a-Smoker’

By Michael Berg

If you smoke or you know someone who does, Phi Sigma Kappa is offering a way to stop.

The fraternity, along with the American Cancer Society, is sponsoring the Great American Smoke-Out today. It is a program where people promise to stop smoking for 24 hours.

Phi Sigma Kappa has a table outside of the Pow Wow in the Holmes Student Center, where they are handing out information, buttons, stickers and postcards in an effort to help people kick the habit.

“The ACS hopes that stopping one day will snowball into two or three days,”said Rich Shippy, philanthropy chairman of the fraternity. About 7 million people participated in the U.S. last year, and one to three days later, 4.9 million of those people still were not smoking, according to the ACS.

The fraternity and the ACS are sponsoring an “Adopt-a-Smoker” program. A friend of a smoker and the smoker sign papers that state the friend promises to help the smoker stop. “The person who adopts promises to be there for reassurance and help,” Shippy said. “The adopter acts as a crutch and takes the time to help.”

“The people who adopt (smokers) supply the winning ingredient by showing their friends who smoke that they’re concerned and are willing to help,” Shippy said.

Last year, 300 people participated in adoption, Shippy said. In the first two days of the program this year, the number has exceeded that.

Cigarette smoking is responsible for 83 percent of all lung-cancer cases, according to the ACS. The five-year relative survival rate for lung cancer is only 13 percent in all patients, no matter when the diagnosis occurs.

Cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas and bladder also can be caused by smoking, according to the ACS. About 30 percent of all cancer deaths are from smoking.

“Smokeless tobacco is a part of the Smoke-Out, too,” Shippy said. “Many people think it’s a safe alternative, but it’s not.”

The risk of cancer of the cheek and gum is 50 percent higher in snuff users compared with non-tobacco users, according to the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General.

“If you think you’re too legit to quit, leave the pack behind and think again,” Shippy said.

To fill out adoption papers, go to the table outside the Pow Wow or call Shippy at 758-4014.