Great American Smokeout

by Airman 1st Class Ciara M. Travis
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The American Cancer Society marked Nov. 18 as the 35th Great American Smokeout and encouraged smokers to use this day to quit using tobacco or to make a plan to quit smoking.

The Ramstein Health and Wellness Center encouraged members of Team Ramstein to grasp this day and try to and kick their habit.

“Quitting tobacco isn’t easy, but it can be done,” said Tech. Sgt. Darren Banks, 86th Aerospace Medical Squadron HAWC noncommissioned officer in charge. “The HAWC is here to help you with that.”

This year, in order to get people actively involved, the HAWC set up the program called “Adopt-a-Smoker” that allowed non-smokers to “adopt” a smoker to help support them in being tobacco free for a day.

Smokers were given a crash kit to assist in making their day easier. The kits were filled with things like stress balls, peppermint chewing gum and information on the HAWC’s monthly tobacco cessation classes. Although crash kits may come in handy, perhaps the most important tool for quitting is having someone to hold you accountable.

Senior Airman Amanda Faughn, 86th Medical Support Squadron physical evaluation board liaison officer, has volunteered to do just that for one of her co-workers.

“I chose to team up and adopt a smoker because I don’t smoke and my whole family smokes, so I’ve learned to dislike the nasty habit,” Airman Faughn said. “Plus, I’d really like to see my co-worker and fellow Airmen smoke-free and healthy.”

All too often, smokers try to quit but for one reason or another some just can’t make it happen. Having a support group to help in the process can be a giant step toward success.

“With my friends and co-workers encouraging and supporting me, it has become a lot easier,” said Tech. Sgt. Jaime Redmond, 86th MDSS NCOIC.

There are many well known risk factors that go along with smoking. Unfortunately, although people may be aware of those factors, once the habit has a controlling grip on them, quitting can be easier said than done.

“The diseases that accompany smoking hit close to home for me. I lost my father to heart disease and he was a smoker,” Sergeant Redmond said.

One of the significant factors in people’s failure to quit smoking is that they are simply not ready. Everyone who quits successfully has their own personal motivation for remaining tobacco-free.

“Motivation for me is that I would like to live a long enjoyable life, and I would also like to do well in my Air Force career and my physical fitness,” Sergeant Redmond said.

Airman Faughn attempted to make things as easy as possible for Sergeant Redmond by making herself accessible during the hard process of quitting.

“I’ve done a lot to make sure Sergeant Redmond keeps her day tobacco free,” Airman Faughn said. “I’ve given her my number to call every time she has an urge to smoke, I’ve tried bribing her, and I also have the privilege of sitting just right across the hall so I can keep her accountable.”

This kind of backing and cheering on is exactly what is needed to help an addicted smoker quit. Whatever an individual’s reasoning for trying to quit, it’s important that the people around them support them in their battle. It truly is a struggle, a battle that is won hour by hour and day by day. With each passing day, it becomes a little easier until the urges just don’t come on as often or as strong as before.

“In order to quit smoking, you have to take it one day at a time,” Sergeant Redmond said. “The first day is the hardest, but then there is always the next day.”