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Clinic Receptionist Kicks Smoking Habit and You Can, Too

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Article by: Louise Jett, ljett@lc.edu

Lewis and Clark Campuses Will Be Smoke Free July 1

GODFREY– Lewis and Clark Community College Family Health Clinic Receptionist Sue Gieseking knows quitting smoking can be quite a challenge. She smoked up to three packs of cigarettes a day for 30 years, before quitting.

“I tried several options between 2003 and 2005 before I found what worked for me, which was hypnosis,” Gieseking said. “In addition to hypnosis, I played a head game with myself. I used to panic if I ran out of cigarettes, so I decided to place a carton of cigarettes in my deep freezer. The cigarette was available to me, but it was up to me to decide who would win the battle: me or that cigarette.”

Each time Gieseking passed up having a smoke, she gained more self-esteem. That carton stayed in her freezer for two years. 

“Smoking is a difficult addiction to overcome, but you can quit and you will once again be in charge of your life,” Gieseking said. “Quitting is the best decision and hardest transition I have ever made. Now, I feel as though I can do whatever I set my mind to. What a great feeling of accomplishment!”

Gieseking said she decided to quit because she was tired of coughing all the time. Finally, at Thanksgiving in 2004, she coughed so much she couldn't catch her breath.

“My mother said to me, ‘We lost your dad; we don't want to lose you too!’” Gieseking said. “I also promised my dad, a non-smoker, on his death bed that I would quit. He passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2003; I fulfilled my promise to him on Jan. 21, 2005.”

Since she quit, Gieseking’s life has changed for the better.

“I have so much energy,” she said. “I love not having that ‘monkey on my back,’ and I make my choices now – not the addiction. I did gain weight, but even with the extra weight, I feel 100 percent better.”

As of July 1, 2015, and, in accordance with the Smoke Free Campus Act (Public Act 098-0985), smoking will be prohibited on all on Lewis and Clark campuses. This includes tobacco, e-cigarettes and any other type of smoke. Smoking is prohibited indoors and outdoors, as well as in college-owned and private vehicles that are on or driving through campus property.

Gieseking has some advice for those who are trying to quit.

“Think strongly about your health and the people you want to grow old with,’ Gieseking said. “Really give it your best shot. Most addictions will clear your system after 12 to 15 days. Try several of the options that are out there. What works for one may not work for another. I understand support groups help tremendously.”

The college and Lewis and Clark Family Health Clinic are offering information on available resources for those who may be interested in exploring cessation options. Learn more at www.lc.edu/FHC and www.lc.edu/smokefree.