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Working for Whitewater's Wellness



More articles are available in the Student Health 101 magazine.

There is a lot of help available. Try several strategies at once to be more successful.

  • Call the Wisconsin Tobacco QuitLine at 877-270-STOP(7867) to get free phone support (up to 5 sessions) for people who are quitting use tobacco products.
  • Call the new toll-free National Smoking Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW (800-784-8669)
  • Students, staff and faculty can receive free individualized help to quit smoking from our smoking cessation expert, Judy Lembrich, RNC. Call 1300 to schedule an appointment.
    • The first session lasts about 40 minutes and helps you identify your triggers and develop a comprehensive quit plan encompassing several strategies. Prescription medication, if appropriate, can be dispensed to students for $26. (Staff and faculty need to see their own MD for prescriptive medicine).
    • E-mail follow up to give support and problem solve is given. If desired, 20 minute follow up support sessions may also be scheduled.
  • Use one of the free online programs (see LINKS above)
  • Medication. Talk to your health care provider about both prescription and non prescription medication available.
  • Free Tool for Pocket PCs and Palm™ to Help Smokers Quit. Thinking of quitting smoking, and you own a Palm™ or Pocket PC?You can now download free the new application, Quit Smoking: Consumer Interactive Tool, to load on to your Palm™ or Pocket PC to help you quit.

Quit Smoking is provided by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The tool provides you with a quick and easy way to jump start your own quit-smoking plan. To use this application, you plug in the date you want to quit, and the program counts back 5 days from that date. It then offers you daily practical steps to help you quit, such as identifying reasons to quit smoking and talking to the doctor about medications, including the nicotine patch or gun.

Download the AHRQ Palm™ or Pocket PC applications

A typical one-hour session of hookah smoking exposes the user to 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette. (World Health Organization)


by Judy Lembrich, RN

The University Health and Counseling Services is committed to providing assistance to those tobacco users that desire to quit. We provide:

  1. A short “quit message” at every visit – to remind you of how important it is. It is the single most important thing you can do for your future health.
  2. FREE support sessions to assist you with your personal quit plan.
  3. Medications or prescriptions to increase your chance at success.
  4. Follow-up through your choice of venues: E-mail, Telephone, or visit.




Please call for an appointment - 262-472-1300
I will be as prompt as possible in answering your question(s).


by Marilyn Kile, LCSW

Why is everyone putting so many restrictions on where I can smoke?
Every time you light up, everyone in the vicinity gets smoke in their lungs from the end of the cigarette and from your exhalation. These bystanders are, in essence, forced to be tobacco users. This increases their risk of developing lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease. The side stream smoke from the lit end of the cigarette, cigar or pipe is the most dangerous because it hasn't had any of the 200 poisonous chemicals in tobacco smoke filtered out by your lungs.

If I've already been smoking for years what is the point of quitting now?
24 hours after quitting, the chance of heart attack decreases. 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, circulation improves and lung function increase up to 30%. 1-9 months after quitting, coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decreases. 1 year after quitting, risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's. 5 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of non smokers. 10 years after quitting, lung cancer death rate is about half of a smoker's. 15 years after quitting, risk of coronary heart disease is that of nonsmoker's.

What is the best way to quit?
Use several strategies at once targeted to your reasons for smoking, and seek help.
If you smoke to be more alert, exercise more often taking frequent movement breaks, make sure you get enough rest, eat foods with high nutritional value and drink lots of water.

If you like the feel of a cigarette in your hands and your mouth, hold something else like a pen. Find things to do. Make sure your hands are busy. Put gum, a toothpick, bread or carrot sticks in your mouth.

If you smoke to take a break or to treat yourself, find another way to do that. What else would feel good –a bath, dancing, a talk with a friend, a massage, playing a game, a funny movie? Figure out how much money you'll save by quitting smoking. What fun things can you do with all that money?

If you smoke to relax, exercise more, learn relaxation techniques, and take time to meditate or do breathing exercises.

If you have strong cravings you are probably addicted to nicotine. Many people find nicotine patches or gum helpful. There are other medications a physician can prescribe as well. Some people do better going “cold turkey” knowing the physical withdrawal symptoms will only last about two weeks and then they are free.

Where can I get help?
University Health and Counseling Services. You can make an appointment for free individual support sessions or to learn about nicotine replacement and medication possibilities by calling 472-1300. There are brochures, tapes, and CD's, in the Wellness Resource Center in the lobby of the Ambrose Health Center. These can be checked out for 2 weeks at no charge.

If you want to quit smoking, there are lots of good reasons and great support out there. Good luck.


by Judy Lembrich, RN

A chronic illness carries with it the vulnerability to relapse for weeks to years after the initial “cure”. Everyone knows someone that has quit for a long time and then relapsed. The strong with-drawl symptoms go away, but ex-smokers may forget that even ONE cigarette can start the addiction cycle all over again.


  • 10-20% of the population have genes that find nicotine exposure very unpleasant and are less likely to become addicted.
  • That means that up to 90% will have a tough time quitting if they start.
  • Some persons are addicted after just 4 cigarettes.
  • Being a “smoker” or “chewer” is a continuum. It may start as occasional use at bars or parties.

Each method has it's own merit. There can be no “one method” for every person, just like there is no “one medicine” for any illness.

Individualized support sessions with information about many approaches are available for no charge at the University Health and Counseling Services.

  • One or more approaches used simultaneously increases your chance of success.
  • If you have use one method in the past, it may work better in combination with another.
  • There are many new medications available.
  • Don't be afraid to try again, you are worth it!

Usually no. The method of delivery with medication usage decreases the desirability of the nicotine. It takes only a few seconds for nicotine to reach the brain when smoking.

It leaves your system within 2-3 days. The psychological addiction may continue for a much longer time. The strong with-drawl symptoms that some persons experience significantly decrease after the last dose. ONLY ONE cigarette may cause the
with-drawl process to start all over.


  • There may be a short time when you choose to limit the time you spend with your smoking friends, or ask them to not smoke around you.
  • Alcohol use is strongly discouraged during the initial quit process.
  • You may chose to spend more time in “safe” places (theatres, library, and residence halls or other non-smoking facilities) for awhile so you do not think about during the initial quitting stage.

If You Want to Quit, Figure Out Why You Smoke?

by Marilyn J. Kile, LCSW

There is no one best way to quit smoking cigarettes. Understanding the reasons you smoke can help you decide the best way for you to quit. Take the following quiz to find out why you smoke.

Circle the first letter, if it is true for you.

  1. I reach for a cigarette when I need a lift.
  2. I enjoy getting a cigarette out of the pack and lighting up.
  3. I want a cigarette most when I am comfortable and relaxed.
  4. Smoking relaxes me in a stressful situation.
  5. When I run out of cigarettes, it's almost unbearable until I get more.
  6. I find a cigarette in my mouth and don't remember putting it there.
  1. When I'm tired, smoking perks me up.
  2. I like to watch the smoke when I exhale.
  3. Smoking makes good times better.
  4. I light up a cigarette when something makes me angry.
  5. When I haven't smoked for a while I get a gnawing hunger for a cigarette.
  6. I smoke cigarettes automatically, without even being aware of it.

If you circled mostly:

A's then take a brisk walk when you are tired. Get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, eat nutritious meals and drink lots of water.

B's then pick up a pen or any harmless object nearby when you need something to handle. Take up a hobby that keeps your hands busy.

C's then experience how good things taste, and how much better you, your room and car smell after quitting. Spend the money you save on cigarettes, on something fun for yourself.

D's then practice relaxation exercises and avoid stressful situations for a while. Take a long hot bath, have a massage, or listen to soothing music.

E's then you are probably addicted to nicotine. Ask your doctor about the nicotine patch or gum, or go cold turkey and work through the two weeks of withdrawal symptoms once and for all

F's then cut down gradually. Postpone each cigarette or substitute another activity for one or two each day.

Within 12 hours after your last cigarette, your body begins to heal itself. The level of carbon monoxide in your system declines rapidly and your heart and lungs begin to repair the damage. Within a few days, your sense of smell and taste will return and your smoker's cough will begin to go away. Over the next few years, your body will continue to repair the damage done by tobacco. UHCS has several booklets on stopping tobacco use and staying stopped. You may also call, 472-1300 to schedule a free individual support session with a nurse. It's never too late to stop.

How Addicted are You to Smoking?

Is smoking “just a habit” or are you addicted? Many smokers are unsuccessful at quitting because of their addiction to nicotine. Every person has a different level of nicotine addiction. The more dependent you are on nicotine the more severe the withdrawal symptoms are when you try and quit.

If you smoke, take this mini assessment to find out how addicted your body is to nicotine.

  1. How soon after you wake up do you smoke your first cigarette?
    1. After 60 minutes (0 points)
    2. 31-60 minutes (1 point)
    3. 6-30 minutes (2 points)
    4. Within 5 minutes (3 points)
  2. Do you find it difficult to refrain from smoking in places where it is forbidden?
    1. No (0 points)
    2. Yes (1 point)
  3. Which cigarette would you hate most to give up?
    1. The first in the morning (1 point)
    2. Any other (0 points)
  4. How many cigarettes per day do you smoke?
    1. 10 or less (0 points)
    2. 11-20 (1 point)
    3. 21-30 (2 points)
    4. 31 or more (3 points)
  5. Do you smoke more frequently during the first hours after awakening than during the
  6. rest of the day?
    1. No (0 points)
    2. Yes (1 point)
  7. Do you smoke even if you are so ill that you are in bed most of the day?
    1. No (0 points)
    2. Yes (1 point)

Your Total Score _________

If Your Score Is... Your Nicotine Dependence Level Is
0-2 ................. Very low dependence
3-4 ................. Low dependence
5 .................... Medium dependence
6-7 ................. High dependence
8-10 ............... Very high dependence

Source: Heatherton TF, Kozlowski LT, Frecker RC, Fagerstrom KO. “The Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence: A Revision of the Fagerstrom Tolerance Questionnaire, British Journal of Addictions, 1991, 86:1119-27.

No matter what your score, even if it is low, it is important that you quit smoking. By doing so you will reduce your risk for a variety of smoking-related life-threatening health problems including heart attack, stroke, and cancer. Just 1 year after quitting smoking, you reduce your risk for heart disease by half. Fifteen years after quitting, your risk for heart disease is the same as someone who have never smoked.

Source: “Daily Reasons to Breathe Clean,” National Women's Health Information Center

Also remember your smoking affects those you love. Secondhand smoke takes it's toll.An analysis of 29 studies has found that the effects of exposure to secondhand smoke can have almost the same effect as active smoking. The negative effect it has on cardiovascular health is greater than that of outdoor air pollution.

Source: Circulation, May 24, 2005.

Surgeon General's Report Focuses on the Effects of Secondhand Smoke

U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona issued a comprehensive scientific report which concludes that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. The finding is of major public health concern due to the fact that nearly half of all nonsmoking Americans are still regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.

The report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, finds that even brief secondhand smoke exposure can cause immediate harm. The report says the only way to protect nonsmokers from the dangerous chemicals in secondhand smoke is to eliminate smoking indoors.

"The report is a crucial warning sign to nonsmokers and smokers alike," HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said. "Smoking can sicken and kill, and even people who do not smoke can be harmed by smoke from those who do."

Secondhand smoke exposure can cause heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children, the report finds.

"The health effects of secondhand smoke exposure are more pervasive than we previously thought," said Surgeon General Carmona, vice admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service. "The scientific evidence is now indisputable: secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults."

Secondhand smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals, and is itself a known human carcinogen. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke inhale many of the same toxins as smokers. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and increases risk for heart disease and lung cancer, the report says. In addition, the report notes that because the bodies of infants and children are still developing, they are especially vulnerable to the poisons in secondhand smoke.

"The good news is that, unlike some public health hazards, secondhand smoke exposure is easily prevented," Surgeon General Carmona said. "Smoke-free indoor environments are proven, simple approaches that prevent exposure and harm."

The report finds that even the most sophisticated ventilation systems cannot completely eliminate secondhand smoke exposure and that only smoke-free environments afford full protection.

Surgeon General Carmona noted that levels of cotinine -- a biological marker for secondhand smoke exposure -- measured in nonsmokers have fallen by 70 percent since the late 1980s, and the proportion of nonsmokers with detectable cotinine levels has been halved from 88 percent in 1988-91 to 43 percent in 2001-02.

"Our progress over the past 20 years in clearing the air of tobacco smoke is a major public health success story," Surgeon General Carmona said. "We have averted many thousands of cases of disease and early death and saved millions of dollars in health care costs." He emphasized, however, that sustained efforts are required to protect the more than 126 million Americans who continue to be regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in the home, at work, and in enclosed public spaces.

Copies of The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General and related materials are available on the Surgeon General's Web site

Source: press release from US Department of Health and Human Services June 27, 2006

This site is not meant to replace the advice of a health care or counseling professional. You should not rely on any information on these pages, or information generated for you by this site, to replace consultations with qualified professionals regarding your own specific situation. Some links take you to a source outside of UHCS. The owners of that site, not UHCS, are responsible for the content.

Last Updated: 08/09/13