Letter: Cessation program way to quit smoking habit

From: Debra Richard


If anyone doubts that raising tobacco taxes would not encourage a smoker to quit, you could be mistaken. As a tobacco cessation facilitator for the past 14 years, I know it is only the tobacco user himself who makes himself quit. The decision to quit is his alone. The vast majority of users are addicted to nicotine.

However, the motivation to quit comes from the various sources. I witnessed firsthand the spike in class enrollments several years ago when Indiana raised the tax by 50 cents. During classes and health fairs smokers report that while health is typically the motivator to quit, it is the financial cost answer that quickly follows. “I’m tired of watching my hard-earned money go up in smoke,” they profess.

The typical pack-a-day smoker at $6 per pack spends $2,190 annually. A $1-per-pack tax increase jumps that to $2,555 a year. Imagine having two or more users in the household. Ouch! Health and life insurance premiums are usually higher for tobacco users, too.

Kicking any addiction can be difficult, but not impossible. Help is available from numerous sources. The true miracle is watching people work hard, gain confidence, create daily quit plans and achieve their goals — despite the occasional setback — to eventually become nicotine-free.

If you think quitting is impossible, I promise it isn’t if you’re determined to quit. It takes planning.

A gentleman I had in class, a professional truck driver, was a five-packs-a-day smoker. That’s more than seven hours of constant smoking a day! It wasn’t easy; it took about six months to gradually wean him off smoking, but he did it. He worked his plan we had laid out together in class, used medications and finally kicked a nearly 40-year addiction. His determination and strong desire to quit, along with support from classmates and friends, allowed him to set himself free of tobacco for good.

The Indiana Legislature is considering another tobacco tax hike soon — possibly $1 to $1.50 per pack. Why wait to get clobbered with higher tobacco costs?

Join us for our tobacco cessation class from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, 2626 17th St., Columbus. The eight-week session costs $35. Free patches or nicotine gum are available. Scholarships are available, too. Preregister by calling me at 812-379-4927, or 1-800-699-1019.

Leap into spring tobacco-free and feel how amazing it is to not be controlled by tobacco anymore.