Winning the smoking battle

While some smokers quarrel and complain about the ban on smoking in public, others are seizing the ban as an opportunity to kick the
Sandusky Register Staff
May 9, 2010

 

While some smokers quarrel and complain about the ban on smoking in public, others are seizing the ban as an opportunity to kick the habit.

In fact, a representative of the Ohio Quit Line said calls by Ohioans wanting to quit smoking have increased at least 50 percent since the ban was passed Nov. 7.

The Ohio Quit Line was created by the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation. It is funded with money secured from the national master settlement agreement between tobacco companies and 46 states.

"Even after Election Day, we started to see a steady increase in calls and continue to see a high volume for people who want to take this as an opportunity to quit smoking," said Beth Schieber, spokeswoman for the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation. "We've seen double to triple the calls we'd normally receive."

Jolene Kreh, project coordinator for the American Lung Association's northwest Ohio region, said her organization has also seen an increase in the number of people trying to quit since the ban went into effect.

"We've had a lot of people call lately about wanting to quit smoking," she said. "We started getting those calls when the ban went into effect. A lot of work sites have been wanting to get cessation classes for their business because they're wanting to get their work sites smoke free."

According to the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation, only about 22.3 percent of adult Ohioans smoke as of 2005 and the organization estimates that 50 to 70 percent of smokers actually want to quit, which is supported by the 60 percent of Ohioans who voted in favor of the smoking ban.

Some experts say quitting smoking is as hard as quitting heroin and Kreh said there are physical reasons the habit is so difficult to break.

"Nicotine is the perfect drug," she said. "It's both a stimulate and a depressant. You get that quick high, but it calms you at the same time."

Kreh said nicotine, just like any other drug, makes your body develop a chemical dependency that when broken, can lead to physical withdrawal symptoms like headaches and