Allen Sabatino, Health Services Coordinator at Penn State Hazleton, began smoking at the age of II . Sabatino remembers getting two quarters from his parents to go buy smokes from the local corner store as a common theme in his life. He had grown up in a smoking family and had never questioned early on that smoking could be harmful. What kid would when he or she could buy cigarettes with as much ease as a middle-aged man?
It was a different time then, and Sabatino stated if he could relive those moments, he would abstain from smoking despite the ridicule and peer pressure he would have inevitably received. He recounted how hard it was for him to quit.
"I worked in the medical field and had seen people die from lung cancer on more than one occasion, yet I continued to smoke." He had thought "That happens to other people, it won't happen to me." Not even his marriage or the birth of his daughter was enough to make him quit. Sabatino said, "It wasn't until my dad got lung cancer did I finally make the decision to quit. Seeing that he got it made me realize that I could too, and it really hit home for me."
In total, it took Sabatino 30 years to give up smoking for good.
Now, Sabatino helps others quit too with smoking cessation services he offers on campus. He explained, "The ultimate goal is to get some one to stop smoking permanently." Any student or faculty member, who is serious about quitting, can meet with Sabatino for treatment.
In treatment, he provides counseling services and medicinal options as well. The smoking cessations Sabatino runs are virtually free. He allows for visitation at no cost and even pays for nicotine patches out of his own budget to help others quit; only costs come with the exception of more pricey medications such as Chantix and Wellbutrin.
He elaborated on the main problem when it comes to quitting. "It is hard for people to quit, because people find comfort in nicotine. It is a stimulant that makes you feel calm and more focused. Problem is it is short-acting. The high one gets from the nicotine passes and the body detects the loss. Soon later,
the smoker has withdrawals and is lighting up again." Sabatino said, "The success rate is completely dependent on the individual. In most cases, [the smoker] has to have something more important than the cigarette."
No one at the moment takes advantage of this service, but he looks forward to helping anyone in the future who is serious about making a difficult lifestyle change for the better.
There is no better time to quit than now. On Nov. 15, the American Cancer Society's 37th Annual "Great American Smokeout" will ask that smokers quit for just one day. They say, "By quitting - even for one day - smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life- one that can lead to reducing cancer risk." There is a wealth of resources and information on the topic that either smokers don't know or simply ignore. According to the American Cancer Society, "Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 43.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes - Nearly I in every 5 adults."
Smokers are not the only ones who are harmed from cigarettes. "Each year, about 3,400 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing in secondhand smoke," and "secondhand smoke also causes about 46,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are not current smokers," (Cancer Facts & Figures 2012). The time to quit is now. Join other Penn State Hazleton students and faculty this year that will "Be A Quitter" on Nov. 15.