Smoking addiction can affect anyone, regardless of your self-control or indignation.
At first, you smoke cigarettes when you are out with friends on a friday night, or during work breaks with your colleagues. You just want to try one, but eventually one turns into a pack every week, and from a weekly indulgence it transforms into a daily ritual. You are experiencing a cigarette addiction, a powerful craving for tobacco that can affect anyone, regardless of your self-control or indignation.
Why Are Cigarettes so Addicting?
Cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that is found in tobacco. When a person smokes a cigarette the nicotine travels to their brain, creating a temporary sensation of relaxation. However, after the effects of the nicotine wear off, the stressful thoughts reappear, causing the person to crave another cigarette.
Just because a person smokes a cigarette, does not mean they are addicted. Many people prefer to smoke in very small increments: when they are out with friends, or after a stressful day at work. However, whether an individual uses cigarettes sparingly or daily, tobacco can still take a negative toll on their health.
How Harmful Are Cigarettes?
-On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than individuals that do not regularly smoke cigarettes.
-Almost 9 out of 10 reported cases of lung cancer are caused by cigarette smoking.
-More than 16 million people suffer from one or more diseases caused by smoking.
-Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
-Smoking does not only impact the person directly inhaling the cigarette. If a person is placed in a home or work environment where others smoke, even if they do not, their risk of lunch cancer increases between 20-30%,
-A person who smokes one pack a day will spend on average $2,011 a year on cigarettes.
-In New York City, an avid smoker will spend over $5,000 a year on cigarettes.
Who is smoking cigarettes?
The demographic of smokers is incredibly vast, and cannot be narrowed down to a specific race, gender or age. It is reported that 9 out of 10 smokers begin before the age of 18. Although it may seem that most people are merely social smokers– only taking part during weekend during parties- only 5-15% of people who smoke have five or less cigarettes a day.
Taking Back Control
There is always a way out of addiction. The journey is not going to be perfect, but you should never think it’s too late, or that the health benefits are not worth the struggle. Many individuals do not realize that your health will begin to improve within hours of your last cigarette. Two hours after you have last smoked, your heart rate and blood pressure will return to almost normal levels.
Two weeks after you quit, you will be able to engage to physical activities without feeling winded or nauseous. Slowly but surely, your withdrawal symptoms will start to subside. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is cut in half, compared to the risk of a continuous smoker.
It is important to stay positive, even during the days your withdrawal symptoms are causing intense cravings. Surround yourself with people that will help you stay on track. Remove any triggers around the house like ashtrays, lighters, and of course, cigarettes. For motivation, after a week of not smoking, calculate the money you would have spent on cigarettes. Allow yourself to buy something or do an unusual activity as a reward for your persistence.
You don’t want to have to remove yourself from a conversation because you’re overcome with a craving, or miss out on an adventure because your body cannot handle physical activity. Remember that your life belongs to you, not a tiny pack sitting in your pocket, dictating your decisions and prohibiting future goals.