By Abigail Keefe
December 3, 2004

Aegina Foto

The American Cancer Society reports that approximately 699,560 men and 668,470 women were diagnosed with cancer in 2004; 25 percent of these cases are of lung cancer-a common consequence of smoking cigarettes. Despite the health concerns associated with smoking, an estimated 48.2 million Americans 18 and older continue to light up.
In an effort to combat the rapidly growing epidemic of tobacco users in college, the Office of Health and Wellness will be providing classes to help students quit the habit. Main Line Health will sponsor the "Smoke-Free" classes being offered to Cabrini students every Wednesday from Jan. 19 to Feb. 23.
Health Services Coordinator Susan Fitzgerald has decided to lead the fight at Cabrini. Fitzgerald felt compelled to act after viewing horrific facts like 440,000 people dying from tobacco-related diseases annually.
Nicotiana tabacum, otherwise known as nicotine, has been used as early as 6,000 BC. This highly addictive substance is a stimulant similar to that of caffeine, which releases adrenaline causing the recipient to have an increased reaction time and attentiveness.
Psychology department chairman Dr. Anthony Tomasco said that the neurological effects of nicotine mimic that of natural chemicals in the brain. "If you look at nicotine as a pharmological agent, you can see that it does create a sense of relaxation, which normally may only occur if you let endorphins take over," Tomasco said.
In small doses, nicotine causes the brain to release more endorphins, a natural chemical produced by the body that has pain-relieving properties similar to morphine; however, nicotine is also manufactured and sold as a pesticide. Although one cigarette contains a small dosage of nicotine, approximately 1 mg, consuming 60 mg will be fatal to an adult.
Recent studies show that nearly 30 percent of college students smoke cigarettes. This percentage has been steadily increasing throughout the past decade. Escalated depression, unsuccessful dieting and alcohol-related problems are all suspected reasons why college students start the smoking habit. Physicians widely believe that students feel a false sense of gratification when engaging in the habit.
Also, modern research explains that college students who smoke regularly have an extremely hard time quitting after they graduate. In a study conducted by Health Psychology magazine, 90 percent of smokers in college cannot kick the habit after they graduate.
Melissa Natividad, a senior psychology major, has been smoking since her freshman year of college and has attempted to quit. "I actually quit for a month and then exams hit and I started again," Natividad said. "I found that it was really difficult to stop when I was around all my friends that smoke."
Theresa Benditt, a sophomore elementary education major, does not plan on quitting anytime soon. "It takes the edge off of my attitude and it relaxes me," Benditt said.
The Main Line Health and the Office of Health and Wellness have teamed-up to help local college students lower these high smoking statistics. There will be six sessions conducted throughout January and February.
Each session will be held for an hour from noon until 1 p.m. in the Grace Hall atrium. There will be no fee charged to students for the classes. A trained representative of Main Line Health will be sent to Cabrini to lead each session.
Cabrini has enrolled in other programs in the effort to stop the rise in college smoking. The great American smoke-out was recently held at the school and viewed as a large success. Although many students have yet to register for the smoke-free classes, the Cabrini student body seems receptive to the program.
Junior social work major Jackie Wilcox has struggled with the smoking addiction for three years. "Smoking cigarettes is just as addictive as any drug. I definitely could use the help of classes like these. Where can I sign up?"
Interested students can contact Fitzgerald at either the Rooyman’s Center or the Office of Student Activities. Also, students have the option to e-mail <a href=""></a> to register for classes in advance. The six-session program will offer free nicotine replacement therapy and snacks for all those who get involved.
<i>Posted to the web by Shawn Rice<i/>

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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