In the eyes of the educated public, there is no good reason to smoke. People who smoke should be smarter and just quit. Non-smokers argue that smokers should pay more taxes to cover environmental costs of emitting toxic smoke and dropping poisonous ash; of putting the medical system under strain.

There is not much sympathy out there for smokers or adequate understanding of the reasons why people pick up cigarettes and why they can’t stop. Consider some of the factors which influence a person’s decision to start smoking, why they continue, and how they could approach cessation.

Starting to Smoke

Statistics suggest that numbers are dropping: fewer and fewer people are smoking. If these statistics continue, smokers will be in a very tiny minority. Teens often begin to smoke when their friends say it is cool, friends who are lured by the idea of behaving like grown-ups or doing the exact opposite of what their parents tell them.

Girls with eating disorders or who want to lose weight sometimes pick up cigarettes as a means of becoming or staying slim. Children copy parents and older siblings. They do what famous people do. You never know, when you smoke around others, what sort of an influence you might have on them.

Problems with Smoking

Smoking can cause illness and discomfort in three potential ways: first-, second-, or third-hand. Obviously, first-hand illness relates to the individual who smokes. Second-hand smokers inhale cigarette smoke created by others. Third-hand smoking issues are the result of toxins left behind by smokers: old butts, things they touch, odors they leave, etc.

A smoker is several times more likely to die prematurely than someone who does not. The most likely killers are related to lung disorders or cancer. He might develop lung, throat, or mouth cancer. COPD, emphysema, and asthma are potential killers.

Second-hand smokers are vulnerable to the same conditions: children whose parents smoke in the house or car, bartenders and waitresses who are exposed to smoke, and colleagues of smokers standing around together during coffee break.

Third-hand problems might be allergic reactions to chemicals left on railings. Toddlers put everything in their mouths, including cigarette butts laden with chemicals and nicotine.

Most businesses have banned indoor smoking and it is not permitted in bars or restaurants. Only rebellious business owners allow customers to smoke on their premises and office workers are usually forced outside to smoke so their co-workers are not exposed to smoke.

Quitting Smoking

Usually, there is a lot of pressure from friends, family, medical professionals, colleagues, and the public to quit smoking. Some comments originate from a desire to inspire change, but a lot of it is unkind. Numerous people feel angry about the strain which smokers cause to the environment and hospitals.

There are effective measures for cessation: gum, candy, skin patches, medicine, hypnosis, counseling, and cold turkey. Electronic cigarettes are currently the most controversial method some people use. Cessation involves giving up two components: nicotine and the action of smoking, both of which are addictive.

Chemistry of Addiction

A body that relies on nicotine is challenged by the difficulty of weaning off of a drug. There is no difference between this dependency and alcoholism where the brain is concerned and it is no easier to stop using one than it is to give up the other. The action of smoking is equally addictive: this hand-to-mouth movement is reassuring and relaxing. Consumers often associate “having a smoke” with certain daily routines like taking a break at work, talking on the telephone, or preparing for a stressful event.

These factors are what interfere with a desire to quit smoking. While patches and gum allow one to wean from nicotine, they do not help a person give up the behavior. When and individual tries vaping with e cigs, he continues that motion, so is not completely free of his addiction, although there are fewer chemicals to worry about and less risk to personal health.

When someone is struggling with any addiction, it is important to find out why while also helping an individual give up the addictive substance. Even when someone becomes hooked as the result of an experiment in their teens, counseling can be effective. Ideally, several methods will work together: cessation with patches or gum, counseling, plus plenty of encouragement from friends.

Benefits of Smoking Cessation

Once a person quits smoking and doesn’t move on to a new addiction, there are tremendous benefits. She starts to deal with the issues which led to her decision to smoke in the first place. Her smoking habit was expensive but now she saves money: even hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Smokers cough a lot, often in great racking heaves which put heart and blood vessels under strain. It’s not uncommon to suffer a heart attack or stroke as a result, while witnessing such a coughing fit is distressing to bystanders and family. Little by little these coughing fits lessen in intensity and might go away entirely. Ex-smokers get their breath back and find they have the energy to do more: walk, maybe run marathons, pick up yoga or cycling, or simply run around with their children and grandkids.

Ex-smokers realize they can taste food for the first time in years after cigarettes dulled the sensitivity of their taste buds. Cigarette-smoke odor lingers but ex-smokers realize they no longer smell bad. Passing by a smoker they realize how smelly they once were and breathe a clean, healthy sigh of relief.

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