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Human Resources

Smoking Cessation Events

November 15, 2018

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout. If you use tobacco, consider using the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking (or using other tobacco products) that day.  You are invited to participate in the Smokeout, (whether you use tobacco or not).  You may even win a prize!  Answer this survey, which takes about one minute, and you could win movie tickets!

Professor Spirit, our “resident” therapy dog, will make a visit to the Pleasantville and NY campuses during the week of the Great American Smokeout!  It may help to spend time with Professor Spirit to “Paws and Breathe” if you are feeling anxious or irritable because you are trying to quit using tobacco products, or you just want some stress relief during the day.  Learn more about Professor Spirit, by visiting the Dogs of Pace website.  The sessions will be held as follows:

  • Pleasantville:  Tuesday, November 13 - Kessel Multipurpose Room 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
  • New York:  Thursday, November 15 - Bianco Room, One Pace Plaza 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Please register to spend time with the therapy dog.  Space is limited to 10 people per session, so sign up today! 

Did you know?

Nearly 38 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths.  For information visit the Great American Smokeout website.

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Buckwald, Director of HR Initiatives, at

For those who may need some inspiration, we thought this story from the May 2018 HR Newsletter bears repeating:

Be Well!  And Tell!!

This is Jason Silverstein’s story about smoking cessation, in his own words:

I was a pack-a-day smoker for 23 years and stopped cold turkey 4 years, 1 month and 4 days ago.  I started smoking for a lot of the reasons many young people do.  It seemed cool, it was available, it boosted my self-confidence, and it helped me to fit in with a crowd; and back then, it was cheap.  I was a teenager and there were a lot of psychological development factors occurring, but needless to say, I got hooked onto a habit that would follow me past adolescent development and into adulthood. 

For the first 14 years or so, it was no big deal.  Most of my friends smoked, bars and restaurants allowed indoor smoking, and I thought that smoking relieved stress or anxiety.  Smoking became part of my identity and lifestyle.  Taking a break or after a long shift at work, stuck in traffic, before a meal and after a meal, before bed and right as I woke up; it was always there and always a consideration.  I was a smoker and although I knew smoking was unhealthy, it hadn’t occurred to me how many different levels of unhealthy.

After turning 30, things started to change.  Friends began to quit smoking, bars and restaurants banned indoor smoking, and the stress and anxiety didn’t go away from a “smoke break”.  I started to notice the smell on my clothes, in  my car, and the apartment.  As my career was growing, I began noticing that people who were where I wanted to be didn’t smoke.  The more I looked at it, the more it dawned on me that smoking had acquired a social stigma that conveyed characteristics that I didn’t identify with or want to be identified with.  I started to ask myself, who still smokes and why?  I was waking up to the fact that I didn’t want to smoke anymore, the idea had lost its appeal and I was searching for a way to escape.

Looking back, I suppose the desire to stop smoking, and that’s exactly what it was, a desire, was growing stronger than the compulsion to pick up and light another cigarette.  It’s cliché, but a light switch went on that continually flashed strong signals of “I don’t want to smoke, stop it!” and “which is stronger, you or a cigarette?”.  Over the course  of a decade, the desire to stop got louder and louder until one day I picked a Monday on the calendar and made it the morning where I would smoke my last cigarette.  

Like I said, I quit cold turkey and then went through 3 days of detoxification where my body adjusted to not having any nicotine.  After those 3 days, something changed and the change was a total 180°.  The thought of smoking made me queasy, and it still does, and the smell of smoke or the trace of smoke on people’s clothes produces a visceral reaction.  After a month of learning how to sit in traffic without smoking or not smoke after dinner or when I woke up, I started to exercise.  That led to eating better, which led to overall increase in physical and mental wellness.  Now, it all seems like a different life led by a different person, that’s how much of an impact stopping smoking made.  I feel healthier now than at any point in my life and that isn’t just physical health.  Addiction is no laughing matter and I consider myself blessed for being able to break the habit.  I can’t say that what worked for me will work for others.  I can say that the hardest part is mental and that the desire to stop has to be present.  I firmly believe in mind over matter, if the path in your mind is set, then the obstacles you encounter do not matter.

Submitted by Jason Silverstein, Director of Operations, Office of Student Assistance