On average, the first cigarette is smoked at 14 years old, and smoking becomes active from 16 years of age.
Thus tobacco has become intergenerational and concerns the whole population, both men and women.
Tobacco has a high price…for everyone
In the UK, in particular, this price is a social one, as 10 billion euros are invested in prevention campaigns and social security spending… It is also estimated that the number of passive smokers have a 10 to 15% higher chance of developing heart disease and cancers of the throat and lungs (people working in casinos; servers in places where smoking is, or was until recently, allowed; all people exposed to a smoking environment, etc.).
Cigarettes have an environmental impact
The environmental effects of tobacco are also adding to the communal and social cost. For example, the smoke of 20 cigarettes is the same as the Parisian pollution peak threshold. In addition, cigarette smoke releases toxic components into the air (inside and outside) through the production of ammonia, tar, radioactive substances (polonium), heavy metals (mercury, lead), benzene and all other harmful substances present in a cigarette, including 40 carcinogens.
Serious, but avoidable consequences
Furthermore, tobacco is the leading cause of avoidable death, on average causing 70,000 deaths. This is also comparable with a personal cost, since smoking causes major diseases and disorders in smokers, thus potentially leading to death.
One in two smokers dies from tobacco dependence from the age of 35 onwards, most not living past the age of 64.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death, but it is necessary to add that other respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disorders like heart attacks and vascular and arterial accidents also cause death by smoking.
But also, tobacco causes thyroid, throat and mouth cancers…Thus, a smoker’s life expectancy decreases by 10 to 15 years, and stopping smoking can “earn back” 11 minutes of life expectancy from the first cigarette that goes unsmoked.
How to stop smoking?
Table of Contents
Faced with this morbid and harmful conclusion, many people have tried to stop smoking or want to stop. In fact, 58% of smokers have admitted this, and it is estimated that around 2000 people a day stop smoking for a year. So every year, the number of ex-smokers is between 400,000 and 500,000.
What about the other people?
More than half fail, and 71% fail to last longer than a week, on average. Moreover, even fewer people manage to stop after the first attempt. But why this failure?
Because stopping smoking is hard, people who smoke are very dependent, especially during the quitting stage, during which the relapse and the dropout rate is the highest. It is necessary to consider tobacco as a drug, because of the substance contained in the tobacco leaves, nicotine.
As smokers are addicted to nicotine, they are also addicted to the effects of the endorphin that nicotine promotes and stimulates in the brain. To do this, it assumes the position of natural neurotransmitters in the brain and binds dopamine-producing neurones in their place and stimulates their production.
Nicotine, responsible for this “feeling of absence”
Nicotine is, therefore, psychoactive, as it has anxiolytic and stimulating properties. When a smoker does not smoke for a few hours, the production of endorphins decreases and the smoker misses it. This lack is characterised by nervousness and irritability, instantly calmed by a puff on a cigarette, since smoke enters the brain in under 10 seconds.
If a smoker stops permanently, this feeling of absence will be enduring, persistent and intense. Nervousness and irritability can mutate into anxiety, insomnia and depression in some cases. This comes from stopping smoking, or how to readjust the brain to normal endorphin and dopamine levels.
This phase is even harder the longer the smoker has been addicted to cigarettes, as he has accumulated higher and higher levels of nicotine, and his brain has got used to its production and wants more and more as the years go by.
Motivation: the essential first step to quitting smoking
Therefore, stopping smoking is a psychological process as well as a physical one, because of the effects that are felt during the quitting period in particular. This is not an easy and relaxing journey, and it is even harder when smokers wishing to quit smoking are surrounded by smokers, and continue to go out to places where there are lots of cigarettes around, just as when they are alone and not supported by other people.
It is necessary to find the motivation that is individual to each person, but, most importantly, must be strong enough to prevent you from giving up the fight. If you want to start a family, if you have had a shock or a wake-up call, if you want to take up a healthier lifestyle, if you think you are spending too much on a product that is possibly contributing to your own death…the reasons are plentiful, and must be coupled with opportunities for achievement and with preparation in advance.
Quitting smoking helps to regain your full health and regenerate your health capital to the max, by avoiding severe pathological changes that can harm your life and those around you. To stop smoking is also to:
- Get your breath back
- A full lungful of air
- Beautiful skin and white teeth
- Pleasant breath
- Luscious hair
There are many ways to stop and no longer be dependent:
- Quitting coaching
- Substitutes and stop-smoking treatments
- Help and support groups
What are the treatments to quit smoking?
Some substitutes and other treatments such as Champix Varenicline helping you to quit smoking are often recommended by professionals. For example, Zyban has three advantages and no disadvantages. It allows you to quit smoking smoothly, (there is no need for a “net” stop 2 to 3 weeks before starting treatment, as with some other tobacco-quitting medication), it certainly does not make you fat (which is the fear of many smokers wishing to quit) and it has no impact on the libido.
[su_box title=”Sources” box_color=”#1eb0bc” radius=”0″]
- Why quit smoking: NHS
- Quit for Your Health: Tobaccofreemaine
- 13 Best Quit-Smoking Tips Ever: Webmd
- What Happens When You Quit Smoking?: Healthline
Medical review on March 10, 2017 by Dr. Davis Taylor