Smokers urged to refrain Thursday

By Chris Nelson

Got a monkey on your back?

Almost all cigarette smokers agree that kicking the habit is a very difficult process. For this reason, the American Cancer Society is sponsoring the “Great American Smokeout” Nov. 18 to help smokers help themselves.

According to Karen Grush, DeKalb County public health administrator, the purpose of the event is to show the 46 million smokers in the United States that control of smoking happens one day at a time.

“Giving up cigarettes forever may seem overwhelming, but giving up cigarettes for one day is realistic,” Grush said. “Once you’ve succeeded for 24 hours, you might decide to quit forever.”

Grush added that everyone can participate in Thursday’s activities “whether you are trying to quit or providing support to someone trying to quit.”

Grush said the “adopting” of smokers has become an integral part of the event. When this happens, a friend commits to helping the smoker avoid the habit for an entire day.

Grush suggests that the supporting person be positive during the day, consistently praising the non-smoking behavior. Additionally, one should never nag, threaten or criticize, especially if the friend gives in and lights up.

Another good idea is to give the potential non-smoker a care package of celery sticks and carrots, as well as sugarless gum and candy.

In order to get an idea of how the NIU campus will participate in the Smokeout, The Northern Star went to the popular smoker’s hangout, The Center Cafe.

James Lawrence, junior electronics major, said that he plans to quit, at least on Thursday.

“It would be a step,” Lawrence said. “Besides, this (the smoking habit) is expensive.”

Keith Justice, junior communications major, did not share Lawrence’s optimism.

“Honestly, I probably won’t quit,” Justice said. “I didn’t even realize it (the Smokeout) was happening.”

James Q. Gedmin, senior economics major, said he feels that the Smokeout really does not apply to him.

“I only smoke when I go out to the bars,” Gedmin said. “I never smoke otherwise.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the event is encouraged to call the American Cancer Society at (800) 942-6985.