Are you or someone you know thinking of quitting smoking? Have you tried quitting smoking before? If you answered yes to either question, you are not alone. The average smoker will try to quit 6-9 times during their lifetime. It’s important to know that while quitting isn’t easy, it is possible.
Why Is It So Hard To Quit Smoking?
Smokers often think about quitting as a matter of willpower or choice. But quitting is very difficult for many smokers because nicotine is highly addictive.
Here’s how it works: When you smoke, nicotine reaches the brain in about 10-20 seconds, causing a chemical called dopamine to be released. Dopamine provides a feeling of pleasure. Over time, smoking may become more than just a habit. It can become an addiction. When you stop smoking, it may cause your body to go through withdrawal. This can lead to a slipup in your quit attempt.
Quitting smoking has lots of health benefits. If you are looking for reasons to quit, it’s helpful to remember that!
Disproving Tobacco Myths
MYTH: “Light” or “Low-Tar” cigarettes are safer than the others.
REALITY: There’s no safe cigarette. “Light” and “Low-Tar” cigarettes can deliver tar and nicotine, just as regular cigarettes.
MYTH: Since tobacco is a natural product, smoking is “natural.”
REALITY: Tobacco is not the only ingredient in most cigarettes. Cigarettes contain 599 additives that form over 4,000 chemical compounds, including carcinogens.
MYTH: Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women.
REALITY: Breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women and men.
MYTH: Secondhand smoke is not harmful.
REALITY: An estimated 50,000 people die each year as a result of secondhand smoke exposure.
MYTH: It’s time for the public to focus on more pressing health issues, likes AIDS, crime and “hard” drug addiction.
REALITY: More people are killed by tobacco than AIDS, homicide, drugs, car accidents, fires and suicide combined. Nicotine is more addictive and harder to quit than heroin. Tobacco-related diseases kill half of lifelong smokers.
MYTH: It’s overkill to say pregnant women should stay away from secondhand smoke.
REALITY: Secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome. Evidence also suggests a relationship between secondhand smoke and childhood cancers.
MYTH: Smoking causes lung cancer only. If you avoid that, you have nothing to worry about.
REALITY: Smoking causes myriad cancers, including cancers of the lip, oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, larynx, cervix, kidney and bladder. There’s also heart disease, COPD, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and many others.
MYTH: Smoking is a choice.
REALITY: Smoking is addictive. Nearly 90%of smokers began smoking before age 20. The tobacco industry has a history of targeting youth.
MYTH: If you really want to quit, just put your mind to it.
REALITY: It’s best to consult a physician to create a personalized quit plan. Your plan should include a quit date, informing your social support network of your intentions to quit, and determining the best nicotine replacement therapy to meet your needs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: WWW.CANCER.ORG/HEALTHY/STAYAWAYFROMTOBACCO/GREATAMERICANSMOKEOUT/