Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and is responsible for almost half a million deaths each year in the United States alone.
Tobacco addiction comes with repercussions—many of which are irreversible. One of the first steps to tackle this addiction is to learn why you use tobacco in the first place. Then, you can think about the reasons why you should quit.
Here are some of the most common reasons for people to be addicted to smoking.
About 80 to 90 percent of people who smoke regularly are addicted to nicotine, the main addictive substance in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Your body builds up a high tolerance to nicotine over time, resulting in the need for more cigarettes to release adrenaline into the brain, creating a buzz of pleasure and energy. When people don’t smoke for a time, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may include:
- Feeling sad
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling irritable
- Trouble thinking clearly
- Feeling restless
- Slower heart rate
- Weight gain
Smoking can become associated with other activities in your life. Watching television, talking on the phone, hanging out with friends—smoking can become a part of these routine tasks.
Many people smoke to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms or even the stress that comes with day-to-day life.
Be A Quitter
So why should you quit? Let’s face it, cigarettes only come with a list of cons.
Diseases and death
Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, causing cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases your risk for tuberculosis, some eye diseases and a poor immune system. More than 16 million smoking Americans are living with conditions such as the ones just mentioned. Approximately 480,000 of these same Americans will die this year alone.
Costs and expenditures
The average pack of cigarettes in the United States costs $5.50. If you were to smoke one pack of cigarettes per day over the course of a year, you will have spent $2,011 on cigarettes. If you smoke two or three packs a day, in a year you will spend between $4,022 and $6,033 on a habit that’s killing you.
Kick The Habit
Ready to break your bad habit for good? Put these anti-smoking tips to the test, and see which one works best for you.
Nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays and lozenges are nicotine replacements that aid in reducing the amount of nicotine going into your body. Over time, you decrease the amounts you are taking until you finally get rid of the nicotine and nicotine replacement entirely. This method is great for weaning yourself off smoking slowly, rather than stopping cold turkey.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 80 percent of those who have successfully quit smoking did so by the cold-turkey method. This process will involve great self-control and surrounding yourself with people who care about your goal. Just put the cigarettes down, and walk away.
Out of sight, out of mind
Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car and work. Throw away all lighters, ashtrays and matches. Wash your clothes and freshen up anything that smells like smoke. Shampoo your car, clean your drapes and carpet and steam your furniture. If you don’t smell it or see it, you’ll be less likely to want it.
When you quit smoking, your appetite increases. Find a healthy, yummy snack that you enjoy, and carry it around with you at all times—just as you would a pack of cigarettes. When the craving hits, you can munch on the snack (or chew a piece of sugarless gum), rather than resorting to a cigarette. The idea is to keep both your hands and mouth occupied.
Find a hobby
Consider finding a new and interesting hobby, such as sketching, photography or creative writing to take your mind off smoking.
Avoid second-hand smoke
Once you have made the decision not to smoke, it is best to avoid places where people smoke, and ask that your friends and family not smoke around you. Over time, it will become easier, and you may not have to be so cautious. Ask for support, and you shall receive.
Learn more › Visit tobaccofreeflorida.com for more help to stop smoking, or call Tobacco Free Florida at (877) U-CAN-NOW to speak with a trained quit coach.