Peder Aalgaard | Staff Writer | 01/26/2011
Recently, BSU has been making efforts to become a more tobacco-free campus, the latest being the “Quit & Win” contest, which awards participants for quitting tobacco.
In addition to assembling a smoking task force, the University also played host to the contest sponsored by the National Institute of Health. BSU also partnered with the University of Minnesota for the Quit & Win program and the research study that went along with it.
The contest consists of three rounds that will span from November to April. Jacob Passa, the BSU Health Education Councilor, is the coordinator of the contest. Requirements for each contestant are they must be at least eighteen years old, a current smoker and a current student at BSU.
The first round ended after the first week of January. Thereasa Baker, a BSU senior working toward her bachelor’s degree in nursing, was the round one winner, receiving a $3,000 prize.
Baker was a smoker for 33 years. During that time, she had tried to quit on multiple occasions, such as during her pregnancies and from feeling pressure from being a health care professional. She felt like these other times did not stick because she was not quitting for herself.
One thing that helped Baker this time around was finding that smoking had become very contained. Previously, she had completely quit smoking while at work, at home and in her car. These restrictions and the kind of weather seen up north, made it difficult to smoke comfortably.
Baker knew the logical applications to quitting smoking, as well as the health benefits. She found that both the “time and money were just up in smoke,” and she had seen people suffocating to death with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease still unable to quit. Knowing how serious conditions caused by smoking are, she decided to get in charge of her life rather than let her addiction run it.
Seeing the advertisement for the Quit & Win contest on D2L, Baker made the choice to do something beneficial for her health, as well as help with the study.
While she had been able to temporarily quit before the contest, Baker felt like this time was the hardest. The physical effects of withdrawal seemed to be more prevalent, even with the help from the nicotine patch and gum. This time, she did have added help from one of her friends who also decided to quit, but did not enter the contest.
On the topic of BSU’s goal for a tobacco free campus, Baker had some mixed feelings. Like many people, the idea of added restrictions on a simple freedom is not met with the brightest of smiles. However, she did see the benefit of restricting places for smoking, as quitting has proven beneficial to her.
When asked what she has to say to anyone else wanting to quit, Baker said, “It is an addiction and it really is just like any other addiction. One day at a time. Don’t give up. Every time you quit you learn.”