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1.5 million reasons to quit smoking

January 20, 2015

By state law, smoking will be prohibited on the property of state-supported institutions of higher education beginning July 1, 2015.

A WalletHub analysis of the financial cost of smoking in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia estimated the financial cost of smoking to be roughly $1.54 million for each smoker in Illinois over a lifetime. The high cost of tobacco use may be enough for people to consider quitting.

But it goes beyond that. The economic and societal costs of smoking-related issues in the U.S. total more than $301 billion a year, including $116.4 billion in direct health care costs, $67.5 billion in workplace productivity losses and $117.1 billion in early deaths related to smoking.

Students may also seek to quit smoking for health related reasons. According to the Surgeon General, smoking-related illnesses have claimed 20 million lives in the U.S. since 1964. Tobacco use continues to account for 443,000 premature deaths each year. In addition to the human toll, tobacco use also has a large financial cost.

There are a variety of options available on-campus to assist students with smoking cessation. Health Enhancement offers “Quit Kits” and Extreme Air, an individualized two-session coaching program. Health Enhancement can be reached at 815-753-9755.

The process of quitting smoking can be stressful. With this in mind, the Counseling & Student Development Center offers Stress Management groups, Mindful Meditation, and individualized counseling sessions. For more information about the drop-in programs at the Counseling & Student Development Center or to schedule an appointment, call 815-753-1206.

To help students identify steps for a healthy lifestyle, Health Services offers individual appointments for students. To schedule an appointment with a medical provider at Health Services, call 815-753-1311. For smokers worried about weight gain during the quitting process, Campus Recreation offers nutrition education and a variety of fitness options to support quitting and staying tobacco free. Call 815-753-0231 for more information.

The NIU Employee Assistance Program provides consultation on smoking cessation to NIU faculty and staff, with referrals to community resources and smoking cessation programs covered by their health plans. The NIU EAP can be reached at 815-753-9191, and is located at the Holmes Student Center, Room 709.

One more reason to quit: The Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Pat Quinn signed into law Public Act 098-0985 on August 18, 2014. The Act prohibits smoking on the property of state-supported institutions of higher education beginning July 1, 2015.