Cold turkey | CraigDailyPress.com

Cold turkey

Great American Smokeout, local businesses provide initiatives to quit tobacco

Bridget Manley







— George Barlow knows about cold turkey.

As the manager of Subway restaurants in Craig and Steamboat Springs, it’s part of the territory.

But he also knows about the other kind of cold turkey. The kind he experienced when he quit chewing tobacco.

In honor of the 31st annual Great American Smokeout, Barlow hopes to give out plenty of cold turkey in the sandwich form to those trying to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. The Subway restaurants in Craig and Steamboat are offering free cold turkey sandwiches to would-be quitters.

But Barlow isn’t the only one.

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Heather Burchall, the Visiting Nurse Association Community Health educator, said getting people to help end tobacco use is a community-wide effort, evidenced by others standing behind would-be quitters, also providing incentives to kick the habit.

Among them, Carol Wilson, owner of Neolithics, will provide 10 free incense sticks to tobacco users trying to quit.

The reasons behind her offer are two-fold.

“Part of smoking is the stinky stuff,” Wilson said. Hence the incense, which smokers can use to mask the lingering odor of cigarette smoke.

Secondly, people respond better to rewards than to “nagging,” Wilson said. As a wife of a smoker, she said she knows the difficulty some tobacco users encounter when trying to quit.

The Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition also is pitching in during the Smokeout, offering free oral cancer screenings for individuals who express a desire to quit.

“Oral cancer is prevalent in people who chew,” said Janet Pearcey, Executive Director of the Coalition.

By offering the screenings free of charge, the Coalition hopes to screen tobacco users who otherwise wouldn’t seek the screenings.

Trapper Health Club will give a free day pass to quitting smokers and chewers and all homeopathic tobacco-quitting materials will be marked down 50 percent at Health Works.

Smokers and chewers can obtain kits from either the Visiting Nurse Association or from participating businesses.

The kits include a brochure about the Colorado QuitLine as well as sunflower seeds and toothpicks – items smokers and chewers can use to keep their mouths occupied.

If these aids aren’t enough, tobacco users also can call the Colorado QuitLine to speak to a coach about kicking the habit and obtain nicotine patches and gum.

“Many coaches are former tobacco users,” Burchall said. “They really know what (smokers and chewers) are going through.”

For Barlow, quitting tobacco proved to be a case of mind over matter.

“It think it’s more of a mindset,” Barlow said. “People can do a lot of things if they put their mind to it.”

Barlow doesn’t remember how long he chewed, only that it was for “a very long time.”

After making several quitting attempts, something clicked. Finally, he really wanted to quit.

Today, he joins other Craig businesses reaching out to would-be quitters – one sandwich at a time.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or bmanley@craigdailypress.com