Smokers speak about difficulties with quitting


The average smoker smokes 14-20 cigarettes a day and takes about 2 weeks to quit smoking. The chart shows the number of days vs how many cigarettes per day. Jillian Rodriguez / Student Printz

Currently about 42 million adults in the U.S. smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If any of them ever try to quit smoking, they will endure a very trying time in their lives. They would have to experience the constant desire to light up another cigarette, to continue their habit of breathing smoke in and out of their lungs.

Cigarette smoking, despite its terrible effects, draws many Americans in order to relieve stress in their lives. Mississippi in particular has one of the highest percentages of smokers in the nation. The CDC reported between 23 and 27 percent of people in the state of Mississippi smoke.

Once a person starts smoking, it becomes difficult to stop. Sometimes, it takes a tragedy or an intervention from doctors or colleagues to give smokers the strength to quit.

Dissa Delaney, a custodian on the third floor of College Hall, is a former smoker. She quit three years ago due to concerns for her health. She had developed a heart disease through her years of smoking.

Shortly before that, her husband had died of cancer. Between this tragedy and her health status, she made an effort to finally quit smoking.

“It was hard, really hard for me to quit,” Delaney said. In order to quit, she used Nicorette brand nicotine lozenges and has been smoke-free ever since. Quitting smoking was one of the hardest things Delaney has ever had to do.

Hayes Sanders, sophomore information technology major, has seen a close friend go through trying to quit smoking. Sanders’ friend is in ROTC and tried to quit for health reasons a few months ago.

“Hehastorunalot,sohehad to kick his habit,” Sanders said. His friend has not fully gone back to smoking, but has smoked sporadically to keep the edge off.

Sometimes, however, the urge to go back into the habit of smoking becomes too much to bear. The vicious cycle of nicotine can draw people back to its sweet relief.

Jonathan Sullivan, senior information technology major, saw his cousin attempt to quit smoking. Sullivan said his cousin attempted to use sunflower seeds as a replacement for his smoking habit.

This lasted for a week before his cousin went back into his habit of smoking. “Eventually, I guess he said he couldn’t do it,” Sullivan said. When Sullivan asked why he reverted to his habit, his cousin said he missed the way it made him feel. For smokers everywhere, who have attempted to quit smoking, they all said the same things associated with withdrawal. Those who tried to quit were antsy, irritable and anxious.

Smoking becomes an uphill battle to quit because of nicotine.

The American Heart Association reports that nicotine is an addictive chemical substance that works by traveling to the brain when inhaled and gives users a sense of stress relief. Once the user’s body rids itself of the drug, he or she starts to crave another, which is what happened to Sullivan’s cousin.

Smoking is a cycle of dependency that takes many factors to quit. It takes the proper motivation and the right tools such as nicotine patches or, such as in Delaney’s case, nicotine lozenges. The CDC reported the number of smokers has gone down from 20 percent of Americans in 2005 to 18 percent of Americans in 2013. It is slow, but it is a sign that more and more people breaking the smoker’s dependency.