U’s D-Day aims to help

Jessica Hampton

D-Day, also known as Don’t Smoke Day, might be even more significant this year.
D-Day, which is today, is a day set aside for smokers to quit and nonsmokers to preserve non-smoking conditions for future generations.
Smoking is on the rise on college campuses. The percentage of college students that smoked in the past 30 days leapt from 22.3 percent in 1993 to 28.5 percent in 1997, according to the Nov. 18 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Not only are more college students smoking, but students in the upper Midwest are more likely to smoke than in other regions of the country, the study said.
To fight this recent rise in college smoking, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society are holding a “Toss out the Pack Celebration” at the University.
The event will take place in Coffman Union’s Fireside Lounge today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A sports theme will be used to urge students to quit. The head coaches of the men’s and women’s athletic teams were invited to attend.
Every year, more than 1 million Americans develop cancer, and more than 560,000 die from the disease, according the American Cancer Society.
For those who want to stop smoking, quitting “cold turkey” is no longer the only option either.
There are a few types of medication that can help smokers quit. There are currently four different types of patches on the market. Two are available by prescription only and the other two are available without a prescription over the counter.
There is also chewing gum containing nicotine available.
Zyban is a pill that can be used alone or with the patch to control urges and cravings to smoke. There are also certain antidepressants that have been found to reduce the desire to smoke.
The latest drug on the market to aid in quitting smoking is a nasal spray that releases nicotine directly into the blood stream. It is offered by prescription only.
In all cases, support groups are key in helping smokers quit for good. There are more than 25 support groups available in Hennepin County alone, many through hospitals and clinics around the metro area.
The American Lung Association and Fairview-University Medical Center’s Riverside Campus have a program called “Freedom From Smoking.”
The program, which meets eight times in seven weeks, tries to target smokers’ motivations for smoking. The program then tries to help smokers envision and help themselves become non-smokers.
Within 20 minutes, a smoker’s blood pressure, pulse rate and the temperature of their hands and feet return to normal after smoking a cigarette, according to statistics from a 1996 Education Training Research Associates pamphlet.
The pamphlet says that within eight hours, the oxygen level in the blood returns to normal, and within 24 hours the risk of a heart attack is reduced.
The American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society hope that holding events on college campuses will help students see the dangers of smoking.
Forty percent of teenagers who smoke on a daily basis have tried to quit and failed, according to the American Cancer Society. Their goal in events like the “Toss Out the Pack Celebration” is to bring these numbers back down.