Anyone who has tried to quit smoking can attest to the fact that tobacco products and nicotine are addictive. When smoking a cigarette, nicotine is quickly delivered through the lungs into the blood stream and carried to the brain, giving the user a pleasant feeling. As a result of both the physical and psychological addiction caused by nicotine, the smoking habit is tough to break.
The number one reason people quit smoking is to improve their health and avoid future health problems. Tobacco smoke contains many cancer-causing chemicals. In addition to cancer, smoking also causes heart diseases such as heart attack and stroke, and lung diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking is also dangerous for pregnant women and their babies.
The benefits of smoking cessation are many, including a rapid normalization of blood pressure and heart rate, improvement in breathing and blood circulation, and better lung function. Over the long term, smoking cessation means a much lower chance of developing many of the cancers caused by smoking. This includes cancer of the lungs, throat, kidney, bladder, and pancreas, among others. People who stop smoking will live years longer than those who continue to smoke, regardless of their age when they stop.
Although quitting is not easy, there are many proven programs to help smokers reach this goal. Most smoking cessation programs use a combination of education, self-help, and group meetings, as well as nicotine replacement products or drugs such as bupropion and varenicline to help relieve the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. The success rates differ among smoking cessation programs, but the success of any program depends on the smoker and his or her commitment to quit. Smoking cessation is the most important single step smokers can take to improve their health and lengthen their lives.
For more information on smoking cessation education and products, ask our pharmacists Steve Adkins or Jennifer Pippin.