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Karen Kirkpatrick
Office Manager

Ph: (540) 464-7667
Fax: (540) 464-7025
Email Cadet Counseling

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Center for Cadet Counseling (CCC)
Virginia Military Institute
VMI Health Center
448 Institute Hill, 2nd Floor
Lexington, VA  24450

Tobacco and Nicotine

Whether it is delivered through cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco, nicotine remains another widely used addictive drug in today’s society and is considered the most heavily used addictive drug in the US (National Institute on Drug Abuse & Addiction). Despite everything we know about nicotine, millions of Americans continue to use it on a daily basis. Some experts have even been so bold as to label nicotine as a pediatric problem, with 66% of adolescent smokers wanting to quit and 70% indicating regret for ever beginning to smoke. (George H Gallup International Institute, 1992, National Center for Health Statistics, Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction).

At VMI,  we encourage cadets to stop using tobacco and nicotine and help them to be nicotine and tobacco free. Each year the Cadet Peer Educators host a ‘tobacco quit challenge’ in which cadets can enroll and be supported, facilitated, and rewarded for a quit attempt. The quit challenge lasts up to one month and rewards the cadets weekly with incentives per week of cessation.

CCC Tobacco Cessation Services:
  • Free Quit Kits available to those interested in quitting seriously 
  • Clinical Visits (Cadets can meet with a clinician to discuss use and behaviors around nicotine) 
  • VMI Post Physician is able to discuss nicotine replacement therapies as well as cessation aids 
  • VA Tobacco Quit line 1-800-Quit-NOW is a free cessation service, providing a quit kit and check-ins.
Did you know?
  • The numbers of cadets who use smokeless tobacco is above the national average when compared to other college populations nationwide. This trend is also apparent with soldiers in the military when compared to civilians. 
  • Individuals who make use of a cessation aid (such as nicotine replacement gum, nicotine patch, chantix, etc.) are generally more successful at cessation than those who choose to attempt quitting using the ‘cold turkey’ method.
Not convinced?
Certainly you know that cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the US (Dr. David Satcher, U.S. Surgeon General) as well as the overall problems it can have on the entire bodies organ function. But did you know that smoking or dipping even a small amount (1-4 cigarettes a day) can have major health repercussions?
How does tobacco work?

When smoked or chewed, nicotine attaches to acetylcholine receptors to signal the release of Dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Once nicotine binds with these receptors, the body immediately reacts by increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. 

While dopamine release is a normal part of bodily function, smoking or dipping signal an excess release of dopamine, causing the user to experience pleasure, which is one of the main reasons for the addictive nature of nicotine. Studies have shown a notable difference in the levels of MAO B (monoamine oxidase), an enzyme responsible for breaking down dopamine, between smokers and nonsmokers.  

Related Resources

The American Legacy Foundation is a foundation that is dedicated to creating a world for young people where they feel supported and encouraged to be tobacco and nicotine free. The site helps develop programs that address the effects of tobacco use.The American Legacy Foundation

Ready to Quit? This site has a comprehensive plan geared towards tobacco cessation, created by the Mayo Clinic and the American Legacy Foundation. 
Become an Ex - Relearn Life without Cigarettes

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has put together a page on Smoking &  Tobacco Use. This page has comprehensive information on Tobacco use, community resources, tobacco control programs, and publications. 
CDC - Smoking & Tobacco Use

This website is intended to help you or someone you care about quit smoking. There are step-by-step guides, tools and topics related to quitting.