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Cigarette addiction: the facts and how to kick the habit

Addiction to cigarettes and craving a drag of a “smoke” might seem cliché in today’s “anything goes” culture. From the quintessential images of the 1920s flapper with her cocktail and her cigarette to the Virginia Slims lady and Marlboro Man Cowboy, American marketing has made quite an attempt to make tobacco ubiquitous and acceptable in everyday life.  

 The Facts

Anyone who knows a smoker understands how strong the addiction to cigarettes can be and that it should be taken just as seriously as an addiction to any other drug. Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco that has hooked so many people all over the world. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 60 percent of people who “keep smoking” will die from it. Another study conducted by the World Health Organization shows that tobacco caused over 100 million deaths in the 20th century alone.

Epidemiological studies examined the relationship between obesity and substance use and found that obese individuals smoked more cigarettes per day than non-obese smokers. The number of cigarettes people smoke increases their risk for obesity, likely due to the fact that the more cigarettes people smoke everyday, the harder it will be for them to quit, which may increase their tendencies to overeat.

Having an “addictive personality” also plays an important role when analyzing the behavior of a cigarette smoker. Many times when a person tries to quit smoking, he or she may pick up another substance in place of cigarettes. Food often becomes the next thing to fixate on, as many smokers tend to overindulge in their eating and drinking habits as well. Sometimes the extra weight gain causes many people to start smoking once more. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly seven out of every 10 current U.S. adult cigarette smokers (68.8 percent) report that they want to quit completely.

Statistics on smoking related deaths and disease according to the CDC in 2014

  • Women who quit smoking before the age of 40 reduce their risk of dying from a smoking related disease by 90 percent.
  • Women who smoke actually increase their risk of dying from bronchitis and emphysema by 12 times and increase their risk of death from lung, trachea and bronchus cancer by more than 12 times.
  • In the year 2000, 67,600 women died from lung cancer
  • Between 2010 and 2014, almost 282,000 women died from lung cancer
  • Smoking increases the chances of dying from coronary heart disease among middle-aged women by almost five times
  • Cigarette smoking causes one in five deaths in the United States every year
  • More than 480,000 deaths (including deaths from secondhand smoke) are attributed to cigarette smoking
  • The life expectancy for smokers is 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers

Chemicals in cigarettes

According to the American Lung Association, the following chemicals are found in cigarettes:

  • Acetone — found in nail polish remover
  • Acetic Acid– an ingredient in hair dye
  • Ammonia — a common household cleaner
  • Arsenic — used in rat poison
  • Benzene — found in rubber cement
  • Butane –used in lighter fluid
  • Cadmium — active component in battery acid
  • Carbon Monoxide –released in car exhaust fumes
  • Formaldehyde — embalming fluid
  • Hexamine –found in barbecue lighter fluid
  • Lead — used in batteries
  • Naphthalene –an ingredient in mothballs
  • Methanol –a main component in rocket fuel
  • Nicotine –used as insecticide
  • Tar –material for paving roads
  • Toluene –used to manufacture paint

Some withdrawal symptoms of smoking include:

Much like any other substance that can cause an addiction, cigarettes will cause withdrawal symptoms and health risks. Some withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Having trouble focusing
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling hungrier than usual
  • Craving tobacco
  • Feeling angry
  • Feeling crazy

Some health risks a person may face if they smoke include:

  • Lung disease
  • Developing COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis)
  • Developing lung cancer
  • Heart failure (leading cause)

No matter how long a person has been smoke, quitting can provide numerous benefits to their health and extend their life. Sadly, quitting smoking can be quite hard and sometime it may be helpful to seek assistance at a treatment center. There are various treatment options available to assist in quitting smoking. Seeing an individual therapist, attending group therapy, or 12-step meetings are all great ways to start recovering from this horrible addiction. There are also many over-the-counter products that can help a person quit smoking cigarettes.

To find out more about getting help for quitting smoking you can call 855-441-4405 for more information.

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