Why Quitting Smoking is Worth the Effort
Three things usually work together to make you want to smoke:
- Nicotine addiction: Nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction. That means that once you start using it, your body depends on it to feel good. Why? Smoking releases "feel good" signals in the brain. The longer you smoke, the less your body can release these signals naturally, that's why you crave.
- Habit: This is the body's response to the pleasure of smoking. When smoking becomes a habit, it's hard to stop. Smoking becomes part of your life without your having to think about it. Smoking gives you something to do with your hands or mouth.
- Triggers: Triggers are things that can make you want to smoke - like driving the car, finishing a meal, or being with friends. There are many other triggers too. Each person may have a variety of them.
What about withdrawal ... and weight gain?
They can be managed:
- Withdrawal: Yes, you will have to cope with withdrawal symptoms. They usually start within a few hours of your last cigarette and can last up to several weeks, but they will get better every day you stay smoke-free.
- Weight gain: Yes, many smokers do gain some weight when they quit, but the gain is usually small. Do not let fear of weight gain keep you from quitting. Two helpful hints:
- Deal with staying "quit" first, and save the effort to reduce weight for later.
- Watch what you eat, drink lots of water, and exercise.
Why should you quit smoking?
Smoking hurts you:
- More than 400,000 people in United States die from illness related to tobacco use each year - that is 1 out of every 5.
- Smoking leads to one third of cancer deaths.
- Cigarette smoking kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, murder, and illegal drugs combined.
- Smoking is costly; smoking 1 $6.00 pack of cigarettes per day can cost almost $2,200 per year.
Smoking hurts others, including people you love:
- When you smoke, people near you can breathe in the smoke from your cigarette and the smoke you breathe out. This is called "secondhand smoke."
- About 38,000 people die in the United States from illnesses related to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer.
- Children who are around smoke are more likely to have lung problems, ear infections, and severe asthma.
- Secondhand smoke can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Talk to your doctor about what makes you smoke and ways to stop.
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Permission granted for use by GlaxoSmithKline and adapted from HealthCoach 4MeSM.