The general consensus on smoking is that it is a habit that poses significant health risks to those who smoke and to those around them. But smoking is more than a habit – it’s an addiction, one we have not bothered to include when we talk about alcohol and drug addiction.
What’s in a cigarette?
When you take a puff on a cigarette, you are inhaling any where between 4,000-7,000 different chemicals and almost 70 of them can lead to cancer, more than 500 have been approved by the government, for use in the manufacturer of cigarettes. A partial list of these ingredients include:
- Carbon Monoxide
- Nitrogen Oxides
- Hydrogen Cyanides
- Ammonia Methane
This toxic pool of chemicals can damage not only the lungs and a person’s airway system, it can eventually damage the body’s ability to get rid of mucus and germs which can lead to emphysema and bronchitis. That’s just part of the damage that smoking can cause.
Nicotine is a substance made naturally by several plants including the tobacco plant. It is considered an antiherbivore and used as an insecticide. In humans, nicotine acts as a stimulant raising the feeling of alertness, euphoria, and a sensation of being relaxed.
Nicotine addiction has been compared to heroin addiction because it is one of the most difficult habits to kick. Smokers who attempt to quit experience significant withdrawal symptoms that often include cravings, a sense of emptiness, anxiety, depression, moodiness, irritability, and inattentiveness. The fact that cigarette companies continued increasing the levels of nicotine by almost 10% for 6 years, between 1998 and 2004, has made it even harder for regular smokers to give it up.
How to Quit
There is no magic pill to help you stop smoking. Kicking the habit is often a battle of wills. You might think that just knowing what smoking is doing to your body, brain cells and to the people you love, might be enough to help you put it down forever, but addictions are seldom easy to walk away from. Today, those seeking help with quitting have a number of ways to get started, and to complete the journey toward kicking the smoking habit.
The Mayo Clinic suggests the following:
- Nicotine replacement therapy – Something to speak with your health care professional about. There are nose sprays and inhalers available, but make sure that you get your doctor’s approval before using any of these.
- Avoid triggers – Become aware of what things in daily life push your buttons and makes you reach for a cigarette. If you know what these triggers are, you can create a plan to help you avoid them or to help you work through them.
- Delay – Feel an urge to light up? Find a way to delay having that cigarette for as long as you can – distract the urge by doing something you like or by keeping yourself busy.
- Chew on it – Having something in your mouth is usually what a cigarette is all about. Substitute the cigarette with sugarless gun, a carrot, celery stick or other healthy snacks.
- Don’t have ‘just one’ – Avoid the little voice inside telling you that you can stop at one. Don’t believe it. Remind yourself of the goal and why you are doing this. Picture how much better it feels not to have hot smoke coursing through your lungs.
Remember that every day without smoking, means another day your body has to repair the damage – every day without a cigarette means one day closer to a healthier you.
If you are on a prescribed medication to help you stop smoking, or for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.
References: Lung.org, Mayo Clinic, PBS, Medical News Today, Cancer.org, Smokefree.gov, WebMD
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.
Get your Prescription Discount Card now and start saving up to 80% on the medications you use every day!
Save now on these medications and others: