Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Free clinic to help residents, students stop smoking

Ezra Sembler, a Weinberg freshman, said that cold weather makes smoking inconvenient but not impossible.
“Even though it’s cold, taking a smoke break is something I look forward to,” he said.
Joanna Powell/The Daily Northwestern

Weinberg freshman Sam Lozoff said he started smoking this year in social situations but soon was smoking three or four cigarettes per day.

Worried about his health, Lozoff said he decided to quit cold turkey.

“I try not to put myself in situations where I will smoke,” the 19-year-old said. “I still enjoy it, but I know it’s bad for me.”

To help others quit smoking, the Evanston Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., will host a series of “Stop Smoking” clinics beginning Tuesday. The clinic is free of charge for Northwestern students and those who live or work in the city.

The clinic will use the cold turkey method, asking participants to give up smoking all at once. The Evanston Health and Human Services Department holds the clinic biannually and co-sponsors the event with the Skokie Health Department. Licensed social worker Jerry Zabin said he has conducted the clinic since its inception in 2005. The previous two clinics attracted about 90 people.

“We’ve quite literally worked with thousands of people, and it’s based on what they tell us,” Zabin said. “It’s not necessarily my method and what I do, but it’s me passing along to others what has worked for them.”

Participants of the clinic attend six sessions at 7 p.m. for two weeks between April 7 and April 21. They quit smoking the first session and receive extensive support throughout the withdrawal period from group and individual counseling and a 24-hour hotline

According to the clinic’s Web site, the cold turkey method induces less suffering and creates a shorter period of withdrawal compared to other methods.

Zabin said many people are not aware that the cold turkey method is the most effective way to stop smoking.

“The government and a lot of physicians and drug companies push the use of drugs to quit, and that doesn’t do it for people,” he said. “The quit rate is less successful for those types of intervention.”

Smoking is a problem among young adults, and adolescents are far more likely to become addicted because of their metabolisms, Zabin said.

“With adolescents, there are no health consequences typically for them because the health consequences take years to develop,” he said.

For Lozoff, the health risks are motivation enough to quit, he said. The social stigma of smoking, partially from anti-smoking campaigns such as, also helps, he said.

“Having these vivid images of what smoking can do to you physically would turn off a proportion of kids our age,” Lozoff said.

SESP freshman Kristin Lewis said she saw the drawbacks to smoking firsthand when her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of smoking.

Though that was seven years ago, Lewis has vowed to never smoke.

“My mom is a survivor, but most people don’t live,” Lewis said. “I can’t knowingly hurt myself the way my mom hurt herself.”

Like Zabin, Lewis said she wants young smokers to seek help.

“I understand how past generations started smoking when (the health effects) were less proven, but I don’t understand how people in our generation smoke when they know what it’s doing to them,” she said.

Zabin said he has also lost family members from smoking.

“I just see that this is the number one way for people to prevent premature death,” said Zabin, whose mother, aunt and brother-in-law died from smoking-related diseases. “It’s something they can actually do about their own health.”

To receive more information, call the Evanston Department of Health and Human Services at (847) 866-2969 to register or visit

[email protected]

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Free clinic to help residents, students stop smoking