Tobacco Cessation

It's never too late to quit. We're here whenever you're ready.

OSU is a smoke-free campus and as of January 1, 2018, the state of Oregon's legal age for tobacco rises to 21Student Health Services offers one-on-one tobacco cessation services to students, faculty and staff who are thinking about or have decided to quit using tobacco. These services focus on cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, hookahs, and other types of tobacco. The American Cancer Society states that pairing Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) with a cessation program can double your chances of success.

SHS tobacco cessation program

The program includes:

  • Visits with a Tobacco Cessation Coach
  • Students can receive free nicotine gum or patches

During your visits you will discuss:

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) options and dosage
  • Quit date preparation
  • Post-quit date strategies
  • And more!

We make it easy

  • Appointments available at Student Health Services.
  • Services are confidential.
  • For more information or to make an appointment, call 541-737-WELL (9355).


  • Services are FREE to OSU students.
  • Faculty and staff services are $20 for initial visit, $10 for additional visits.

If you are not ready to meet with a health educator, the Health Promotion Department at SHS also has a vast array of brochures and health education materials available for students, staff and faculty to assist with tobacco cessation. Please come to Room 337 at SHS for more information. 

Are You Living in a Fantasy?

Are you living in a fantasy?

Q: What is a nondaily smoker? 

A: A nondaily smoker is someone who smokes less than 30 days in a 30-day period of time. You may think of it as your friend who only smokes on the weekends or at parties, or during high periods of stress.

Smoking factWhile Benton County has one of the lowest rates of smoking in Oregon (10.8 percent), students at Oregon State exceed county rates at 14 percent1 for daily and nondaily smoking.

Approximately 10 percent of OSU students report nondaily cigarette smoking, and 12 percent report nondaily hookah use.1

While college students may view nondaily smoking as low or no-risk for becoming addicted to nicotine, 68 percent of first-time smokers become nicotine dependent.2

Smoking factUse of substances like marijuana or alcohol increases your chances of smoking.

College-age students can experience negative health effects from smoking even at a young age. The lungs do not reach their full size until late teens for females and after the age of 20 years for males. Smoking hampers the development of your lungs, and therefore young smokers experience poor lung function and decreased development of their lungs.3 Consequently, even young smokers are less physically fit and more susceptible to respiratory diseases than nonsmokers.Smoking fact

Respiratory symptoms of young smokers include: wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and increased phlegm production.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, people who smoke die an average of 13 years sooner than nonsmokers and also experience early heart disease and DNA damage that can cause cancer anywhere in the body. Fortunately people who smoke but quit before the age of 30 years will reverse much of the damage caused by tobacco use.4 And the sooner the better!

        1. Spring 2012 ACHA-NCHA II Survey
        2. Lopez-Quintero, et. al., 2011
        3. CASA Columbia, 2007
        4. Centers for Disease Control, 2012

            Types of Tobacco

            Several different forms of tobacco are widely used in the United States. Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and cigars are the most common types of tobacco. Hookah, a less common form of tobacco, has recently become increasingly popular. Check out the following links to find out more about these different forms of tobacco and the harmful effects associated with each type.


            Health Risks

            Smoking is the single greatest avoidable cause of disease and death. Every year about 438,000 Americans die as a result of smoking or inhaling second hand smoke. About 40 percent of these deaths are from cancer, 35 percent from heart disease and stroke, and 25 percent from lung disease. New studies have shown that about half of all regular cigarette smokers die of a smoking-related illness. Smoking not only harms your lungs, it negatively affects nearly every organ in the body.

            Smoking is the leading cause of cancer, and leads to the most deaths from cancer. These cancers include lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and cervix. Smoking has been shown to cause heart disease, stroke, lung disease, hip fractures and cataracts.

            At least 250 of the 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke are known to be harmful. Some of the most toxic chemicals include hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), formaldehyde (used in embalming fluid), ammonia (found in household cleaners), and toluene (found in paint thinners).

            Regardless of age and duration of smoking, quitting can significantly reduce risk of cancer and greatly improve overall health.

            Although smoking rates have declined over the years, more than one in five Americans smoke. In 2004, this included about 21 percent of adults and more than 22 percent of high school students. Among young people ages 18-24 almost 28 percent are smokers. Approximately 26 percent of white, 22 percent of Hispanic and 13 percent of African American high school students currently smoke cigarettes. Of America’s middle school students, about 8 percent are current cigarette smokers.

            Benefits of Quitting

            • You will feel better: Your heart rate and blood pressure will drop, you will produce less phlegm, circulation will improve and you will breathe easier.
            • Your energy will improve: More oxygen will reach your heart, lungs and muscles. This will make you feel stronger and more energetic.
            • You will reduce the risk of illness: Your body will be able to fight illnesses such as colds much better.
            • Food will taste better: Your sense of smell and taste will return and your appetite will improve.
            • You will save money: Figure out how much you spend each week on tobacco products, and then multiply that by 52 weeks to find out how much you spend per year. Many people find they are spending about $1,000 per year on tobacco products! Think of something nice to buy with the extra cash you will save.
            • You’ll look better: Your teeth will be whiter and your clothes and breath will smell better.
            • Your self esteem will improve: Quitting will help you feel more control over your life. Depression that is caused by nicotine will lessen. Also, you will feel good because you are doing something to help yourself!
            • You will protect those around you: Quitting will help protect your friends and family from the dangers of second hand smoke.

            Better Physical Health: Within…

            • 20 Minutes: Blood pressure decreases, and pulse slows to its normal rate. Temperature in hands and feet increase to normal.
            • 8 Hours: Carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal, and oxygen level increases.
            • 24 Hours: Breath, hair, and body stop smelling like smoke. The chance of having a heart attack begins to decrease.
            • 48 Hours: Damaged nerve endings begin to recover. As a result, senses of taste and smell begin to improve.
            • 72 Hours: The body is virtually free of nicotine. The bronchial tubes relax, making it easier to breathe.
            • 2 Weeks to 3 Months: The lungs can hold more air. Exercise becomes easier and circulation improves.
            • 1 Month to 9 Months: Coughing, congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease. Cilia are more effective in cleaning the lungs to prevent infection. Overall energy increases.
            • 1 Year: The risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.
            • 5 years: The risk of having a stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoker.
            • 10 years: The risk of developing lung cancer is cut in half.
            • 15 years: The risk of coronary heart disease drops, usually to the level of non-smoker.

            Students can receive free one-on-one tobacco cessation counseling through Student Health Services. Call 541-737-WELL or stop by the SHS to sign up for an appointment.


            Smokeless Tobacco

            Chewing Tobacco and Snuff

            The two main types of smokeless tobacco in the United States are chewing tobacco and snuff. Chewing tobacco comes in three forms; loose leaf, plug and twist. Snuff is finely ground tobacco that can be dry, moist, or in sachets (tea bag-like pouches). Smokeless tobacco is placed in the cheek or between the gum and cheek. Users then suck on the tobacco and spit out the tobacco juices, which is why smokeless tobacco is often referred to as "spit tobacco" or "spitting tobacco."

            Smokeless tobacco is a significant health risk and is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco contains 28 known carcinogens. Users increase their risk of heart disease and stroke. The damage to the delicate lining of the mouth and throat can lead to cancer and/or other health problems. For example, oral health problems strongly associated with smokeless tobacco use are leukoplakia (a lesion of the soft tissue that consists of a white patch or plaque that cannot be scraped off) and recession of the gums.

            Smokeless tobacco products contain nicotine and are addictive. Quitting smokeless tobacco products is much like quitting smoking. People trying to quit using smokeless tobacco products often have a stronger need for oral substitutes (having something in their mouth) instead of chew or snuff. Quitting will make mouth sores disappear, improve breath and revive taste and smell. Quitting will also drastically decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer.

            In the United States, approximately 9 percent of American Indian/Alaska Natives, 4 percent of whites, 2 percent of African Americans, 1 percent of Hispanics and 0.6 percent of Asian-American adults are current users of smokeless tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco use is higher among young white males, American Indians/Alaska Natives and people living in southern and north central states. Usage is also higher in people who are employed in blue collar occupations, service/laborer jobs, or are unemployed. An estimated 10 percent of male high school students and 4 percent of male middle school students are current smokeless tobacco users.

            Student Health Services offers free tobacco cessation services for OSU students. All you have to do is call 541-737-WELL or stop by SHS to make an appointment.


            Cigars differ from cigarettes in both their size and the type of tobacco used. Cigars vary in size and shape and can be up to 7 inches long. Large cigars contain 5-17 grams of tobacco and can take 1-2 hours to smoke, while the average cigarette contains about 1 gram and take about 10 minutes to smoke. Cigars contain about 100-200 milligrams of nicotine, while cigarettes average about 8.4 milligrams. Premium cigars can each contain the tobacco equivalent of an entire pack of cigarettes. Because of their size, smoking a cigar is like smoking 3-8 cigarettes.

            Cigar smoke contains many toxic and carcinogenic compounds that are harmful. Cigars do not have filters to reduce tar and nicotine. Many people smoke cigars only occasionally and most do not inhale the smoke. Smoke enters the mouth, throat and lungs even if you don’t mean to inhale. Smoking a cigar directly exposes the lips, mouth, throat and larynx to harmful compounds. Even holding an unlit cigar between your lips exposes them to carcinogens. When you swallow saliva that contains smoke constituents the esophagus in exposed to carcinogens.

            Because of the composition of cigar smoke and the tendency of cigar smokers not to inhale, the nicotine is absorbed predominantly through the lining of the mouth rather than through the lungs. It is important to note that nicotine absorbed through the lining of the mouth is capable of forming a powerful addiction, as demonstrated by the large number of people addicted to smokeless tobacco. Both inhaled and non-inhaled nicotine can be addictive.

            An estimated 6.9 percent of African American, 6 percent of white, 4.6 percent of Hispanic, 10.9 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native and 1.8 percent of Asian American adults are current cigar smokers. Fourteen percent of high school students and 5 percent of middle school students are current cigar smokers. In both age groups males report smoking cigars more than females. Cigar smoking occurs primarily among males between ages 35-64 who have higher educational backgrounds and incomes. Today most new cigar users are young adult males ages 18-24. In 2005, cigar sales in the United States rose 15.3 percent and generated more than $2.9 billion in retail sales.

            Students can get free one-on-one tobacco cessation help through Student Health Services by calling 541-737-WELL or making an appointment at SHS.


            Hookah or water pipe smoking has been practiced for over 400 years, and is often a social activity. There are a variety of names for hookahs, including narghile, argileh, shisha, hubble-bubble, and goza. Hookah tobacco is available is many flavors such as apple, grape, mint and cappuccino.

            Using a hookah to smoke tobacco poses a serious potential health hazard to smokers and others exposed to the smoke emitted. Hookah tobacco and smoke contain many toxicants that are known to cause lung cancer, heart disease and other health complications. Even after it has passed through water, the smoke contains high levels of toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals, that are masked by the sweet flavors of hookah tobacco. Although many hookah smokers believe that this habit is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, hookah smoke still contains nicotine and has at least as many toxins as cigarette smoke.

            Hookah smokers face the same health risks as cigarette smokers, including decreased lung functioning, heart disease and lung cancer. In addition to these health risks, irritation from exposure to tobacco juices increases the risk of developing oral cancers. The charcoal used to heat the tobacco also increases risks by producing high levels of carbon monoxide, metals and cancer-causing chemicals. Because hookah smoking is often a social activity, sharing a hookah can increase the risk of transmission of tuberculosis, viruses such as herpes or hepatitis and many other illnesses.

            Due to the frequency of puffing, depth of inhalation and length of smoking session, hookah smokers may absorb a higher concentration of toxins. The typical hookah smoking session lasts about one hour and therefore involves inhaling as much as 100-200 times the volume of smoke than you would if you smoked one cigarette.

            Students can receive free one-on-one tobacco cessation counseling through Student Health Services. Call 541-737-WELL or stop by the SHS to sign up for an appointment.

            Hot Topics in Tobacco

            Smoking While Pregnant

            Using tobacco products while pregnant can negatively affect your unborn babies’ health. Many toxins found in cigarette smoke are passed to the baby through the placenta. This can deprive the baby of the food and oxygen it needs to develop properly. As a result, babies of mothers who smoke are often underweight. These babies are more likely to need special care and therefore may have to stay longer in the hospital. Some may die at birth or within the first year. Other health risks involved with smoking while pregnant include miscarriage, still births and premature births. According to the American Lung Association, "smoking during pregnancy is estimated to account for 20-30 percent of low-birth weight babies, up to 14 percent of pre-term deliveries and some 10 percent percent of all infant deaths."

            Some of the effects of smoking while pregnant may not show up at birth, but may begin as the baby develops. Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) is more common among babies of mothers who smoked while pregnant. Smoking during and after pregnancy may lead to asthma in children. Children of mothers who smoked while pregnant may also have learning difficulties and/or behavioral problems.

            If you are pregnant, quitting will greatly improve your health AND your chances of having a healthy baby.

            Secondhand Smoke

            Secondhand smoke contains many of the same chemicals inhaled by the smoker themselves. About 500 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to be toxic or carcinogenic. There is no safe amount of secondhand smoke; even the smallest amounts can be harmful to your health. Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25-30 percent and increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30 percent.

            Secondhand smoke kills approximately 65 Oregonians each month. Ninety-one percent of Oregonians favor a smoke-free workplace. (Information provided by the Benton County Health Department.)

            Children are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke. Smoking around children is responsible for many hospitalizations, new cases of asthma, lung infections and is responsible for 40 percent of all SIDS cases.

            Light Cigarettes

            Light cigarettes are generally low-tar cigarettes. The use of light cigarettes greatly increases as age, education level and income level increases. Because of the light cigarette target market, it is not surprising that women use them much more than men.

            Many smokers belive that smoking low-yield or menthol cigarettes is safer than smoking regular cigarettes. Marketing tactics imply that low-yield cigarettes are less harmful. Because many smokers actually block the vents or take bigger puffs when smoking light cigarettes, they may be getting just as much tar and nicotine as from regular cigarettes.

            There is no evidence that switching to light cigarettes can help a smoker quit, or improve their health. Smoking light cigarettes is dangerous and poses the same health risks as smoking regular cigarettes.

            Students can get free one-on-one tobacco cessation help through Student Health Services by calling 541-737-WELL or making an appointment at SHS.

            How to Help Someone Quit

            • Express your own concern about the smoker’s health
            • Acknowledge that the smoker may find it difficult to quit.
            • Be aware that nicotine withdrawals may make them grouchy and irritable; try to be understanding and forgive them.
            • Be encouraging and express your faith that the smoker can quit for good.
            • Give lots of praise and offer rewards for getting through a day, week, or a month without using tobacco products.
            • Offer to do things together that do not involve smoking.
            • Help them out in tough situations like social events and stressful times.
            • Suggest a specific action, such as calling a smoking quit line for help in quitting smoking.
            • Ask the smoker for ways you can provide support.
            • Don’t send quitting materials to tobacco users unless they ask for them.
            • Don’t criticize, nag, or remind the person about past failures.
            • Don’t tell them how easy it was for you or someone else you know who has quit.
            • Don’t use tobacco products around your friend.

            Students can get free one-on-one tobacco cessation help through Student Health Services by calling 541-737-WELL or making an appointment at SHS. 

            Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

            Individuals who are thinking about quitting should look into Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Nicotine Replacement Therapy can help you with the uncomfortable physical symptoms of withdrawal while allowing you to concentrate on the habit itself. Individuals who use Nicotine Replacement Therapy in combination with support services are likely to be 70 percent more successful in a quit attempt.

            There are several NRT options. Costs range from $50-$200 for a one-month prescription, or $15-$55 a month for over-the-counter NRT.

            NRT Options 

            • Nicotine Patch: Sold over the counter as an 8-week quit program with decreasing amounts of nicotine as the program progresses. Patches are applied directly to the skin, and are changed daily.
            • Nicotine Gum and Nicotine Lozenge: Both are available over the counter in 2 and 4 mg strengths. They help to substitute oral activity as well as decrease nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine is released into the body through the inner lining of the mouth.
            • Nicotine Nasal Spray: Available by prescription only. The spray is similar to nasal decongestant spray, and delivers nicotine through the nasal membranes. Nicotine is delivered into the body more quickly than the gum and lozenges.
            • Nicotine Inhaler: Available by prescription only. The inhaler is designed similarly to fast acting asthma inhalers/puffers. Nicotine is delivered through the lining of the mouth.
            • Prescription Drugs: Varenicline and Bupropion are both prescription drugs approved by the FDA to treat nicotine addiction. Bupropion is an antidepressant marketed as Zyban®, and can be used safely with other nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine gum. Varenicline, also know as Chantix®, was FDA approved in 2006 to treat nicotine addiction. Ask a doctor for more information about these prescriptions.

            All forms of NRT have side effects; most are fairly easy to tolerate. Nicotine Replacement Therapy is not designed to be used while still smoking (or using other tobacco products). It becomes a health concern if you are using NRT as well as using your normal amount of tobacco product. Withdrawal from NRT products is uncommon and most people find it easy to gradually stop using them after they have completely stopped using tobacco products.

            Learn more about NRT at the American Heart Association Web site.

            **Students can purchase gum and/or patches in the SHS Pharmacy at a reduced cost.

            Students can get free one-on-one tobacco cessation help through Student Health Services by calling 541-737-WELL or making an appointment at SHS.   

            Self Help

            Questions to Ask Yourself

            • Why do you want to quit today?
            • How motivated are you to quit using tobacco today?
            • Are there supportive people in your life to help you?
            • What are your major concerns about this attempt to quit? (failure, withdrawal, increased stress, etc.)

            Challenges When Trying to Quit

            • Feeling sad or anxious
            • Weight gain: quitting will likely increase your appetite and you may gain weight. It has been shown that people who do gain weight while quitting gain less than 10 pounds. If this is a concern, make sure you get plenty of exercise and try to eat a well-balanced diet.
            • Depression and anxiety
            • Irritability

            Many people find it very difficult to quit using tobacco products. People commonly quit and then find themselves using the product again, especially in the first few weeks or months after quitting. People who use tobacco products after quitting should try to quit again. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip, just remind yourself of the reasons you are quitting, and try again. It may take four or more attempts before you are able to quit for good. Each time you try, you get closer to quitting for good by finding out what works for you and what doesn’t. People who stop smoking for three months or longer have an excellent chance of remaining tobacco free for the rest of their lives.

            Tools, Tests and Exercises

            It is helpful to complete all of the tests, tools and exercises found in this section of the website. That way you can get a better sense of your personal usage and develop your own strategies to help yourself quit.

            Tools to Help You Quit

            QUIT LINES

            • Oregon Tobacco Quit Line offers free quitting information and one-on-one telephone counseling.
            • Call toll-free: 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669)
            • Spanish language line: 1-877-2NO-FUME (1-877-266-3863)


            Students can get free one-on-one tobacco cessation help at the Student Health Center. Stop by or set up an appointment by calling 541-737-WELL (9355).

            Tobacco and Culture

            Advertising Tobacco Products

            • Many tobacco companies have heavily targeted women in their marketing efforts, and several companies have produced cigarettes specifically for women.
            • Some tobacco companies disproportionately advertise to certain racial/minority groups. For example, tobacco brands with names such as Rio, Dorado and American Spirit target American Indians/Alaska Natives much more than any other racial groups.
            • Producing flavored cigarettes is just one tactic tobacco companies have come up with to legally advertise towards youth.
            • Athletes are the largest marketing source for spit tobacco, and are often seen on TV using it during a game.
            • Marketing efforts have portrayed cigars as symbols of a luxuriant and successful lifestyle. Celebrity endorsements, images of attractive women smoking cigars, and product placement in movies have increased the visibility of cigar smoking in American society.

            Articles about Tobacco Advertising

            Tobacco Resources