Quit Line helps Oregon State U. students quit smoking
(U-WIRE) CORVALLIS, Ore. -- After 20 years of smoking, Mary Martin decided to quit for her 40th birthday. The Oregon State University senior became one of the 15,000 Oregonians who have called the The Oregon Tobacco Quit Line in the past 18 months.
After seeing a story on the news, Martin picked up the phone and called.
"I wanted to quit for my daughter," she said. "I didn't want to become a burden on her in my older age due to smoking-related illnesses. I just couldn't imagine myself carrying around an oxygen tank just to keep breathing."
The Quit Line provides a trained counselor to talk to people who need help taking the first step in quitting.
"They were extremely helpful in finding me opportunities that were in my financial means," Martin said. "They referred me to a group in Washington that my insurance would pay for."
Martin was set up with a counselor that helped create a plan specifically for her.
"I always got to speak with the same counselor -- it was very personal," she said. "She was an ex-smoker as well and I could really relate to her."
The quit line will provide a free Oregon Tobacco Quit Kit, which includes a worry stone and other helpful tools to keep smokers' hands busy.
"People need to have something to pull on, unwind or bend," said Doug Pitts, a smoking counselor with the quit line. "Anything to keep their hands busy helps because a lot of smoking behavior involves manipulation."
"I only smoke in social situations and at times of stress, like during finals weeks and when I go out with friends," said Pat Irvin, a senior at OSU.
Martin understands the reasons behind smoking, but she feels the long-term effects are not worth it.
"I know about the emotional ties to smoking and I know about trying to relieve stress, but I just couldn't go on being a bad example for my daughter," she said. "I remember how proud my daughter is of me when I think about having a cigarette. Instead I saved the money from not smoking and bought us bikes and helmets."
The specific program the Oregon Quit Line offers is not available in any other state.
"Anyone who lives in Oregon and wants to quit can call us for free and talk for 20 or 30 minutes" Pitts said.
The program is funded by a tobacco tax increase that was approved by voters in 1996. Ten percent of the new revenue is allocated to tobacco use prevention and reduction. Oregonians who want to quit can call toll free 1-877-270-STOP.