Goad: Up in Smoke

  • Published
  • By Honey Shewbert
  • American Forces Network Europe-Spangdahlem
In the United States, 19 percent of all adults smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That's 43.8 million people.

Collectively, cigarette smoking costs more than $193 billion, which is a combination of lost productivity and health care expenditures. Now, as far as money coming out of a person's own pocket, it depends.

If a person has just started smoking a pack a day beginning January 1 of this year, about 100 days ago, he or she has already spent roughly $460 on the habit if a pack costs $5. That's $1,840 a year. Check out the calculator on http://www.cancer.org.

Tobacco also costs more than just money. Cancer, heart disease, a stroke and lung disease have all been associated with smoking cigarettes. Some smokers know the statistics, and some don't care.

At least that's what U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alexander Goad said. He's a 20-year-old who lit his first cigarette at 13. Not unusual for most American teens according to a 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. It shows that 18.1 percent or 3.4 million high school students currently smoke; and nearly 1,000 children younger than 18 become regular smokers each day.

For Goad, smoking wasn't a way to rebel or fit in, it was purely curiosity.

"I was an open-mined kid and wanted to know what it was like," he said. "After my first drag, I was hooked."

Goad said he really liked it, and that's all that mattered. Seven years later, he's a young Airman serving overseas at American Forces Network Europe-Spangdahlem and things have changed.

"I just figured I need more positive outlets ... healthier ones," he said. "Plus, I have the whole support of my office."

That support and commitment to quit started with a side-conversation during a bi-weekly production meeting. The meeting usually includes all members of the production staff, which are primarily young service members like Goad. They brainstorm ways to creatively sell an idea, program or event for local military organizations.

"I merely mentioned that I was thinking about quitting to the person next to me and all of a sudden, we're doing a whole production on it," Goad said.

This is where "Goad: Up in Smoke" was born. It's a video blog, or vlog, featuring Goad as he goes through the emotional roller coaster of nicotine withdrawals. The idea is to give viewers a real-time look at someone who is trying to quit.

"(Viewers) can decide for (themselves) on whether quitting smoking is what they want," said Senior Master Sgt. Tim Bailey, AFN Spangdahlem station manager. "And if just one person quits, the whole campaign is worth it."

To check the vlog out, go to http://www.youtube.com/afnspangdahlem and look for "Goad: Up in Smoke."

As for Goad, he's getting a few laughs out of the whole process.

"At this point, you can almost say I was forced to quit," he said. "But, I'm actually very happy it worked out that way."