Hard To Say Goodbye to Nicotine (Quit Smoking)?
smoking? Okay, everyone has told me they will quit. You realize
it's bad for your health, but you just can't seem to quit! You
know whenever budget comes everyone will say, if the cigarettes
price goes up this time, I’ll definitely stop smoking! But
saying is one thing, action is another thing…how much
willpower do you have?
My friend told me, “That's just the problem. I want to quit but not
determined enough to do it.”
Last weekend, when I’d tea with a friend at a coffee shop, he asked the
shopkeeper for a packet of cigarettes. While he was taking the
packet ,he saw the ugly and terrible (damaged lungs) photo
printed on the cover. He asked for a change if there’s any
packet without those photo but unfortunately, there isn't one.
So I asked him, “Why are you so scared to see the photo and yet
you want to smoke?” He replied, “I tried to quit but it's very
hard.” I jokingly insulted him, “How are you going to think if
your brains are stuck with nicotine and polluted with all the
He just laughed and couldn’t answer me.
It is indeed the hardest thing many people have done. However, it
really can be done, and it really a worthwhile action. Just as
with so many things to do with health habits, there is no
"magic bullet" which will cure the problem but there are
many things that can help if you truly want to quit.
As we'll see, that's really not an unusual sentiment. And there's a
reason for it. I have not really known anyone who is absolutely
sure that they want to quit, or are absolutely sure that they
are going to be able to do it.
However, I know many, many people who have quitted despite their
(my Dad quitted successfully at the age of 56, after been
smoking for more than 3 decades).
Smokers get tired of hearing it, and physicians get tired of
saying it, but make no mistake, it is so very important. In
fact, the American Heart Association declares that it is "THE
SINGLE MOST ALTERABLE RISK FACTOR" contributing to early
death in the United States, accounting for 400,000 deaths
annually. It has been estimated that about 1/2 of smokers
will be killed by their habits, and that people in their
20's will live one-quarter less than a non-smoker of the same
Surely, you've heard by now that smoking damages your
health. If you already have one of the diseases listed below,
you may be virtually certain that the cigarettes you have smoked
contribute, perhaps greatly, to the diseases. Furthermore, you
can also count on stabilizing or reversing the problems if you
1. Lung disease
2. Lung cancer
4. ancers other than lung cancer: Associations are noted with
bladder, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, larynx, mouth and cervix.
Peptic ulcer disease.
particularly diseases of the heart arteries. Smoking kills more
people through its increase in heart attacks than it does with
cancer or emphysema!
Let's look at some of the cardiovascular risks:
30% of deaths due to heart attacks and coronary artery disease
are due to smoking.
The risk of heart attack is increased six times in women and
three times in men (this is at one pack per day).
People who continue to smoke after a heart attack increase their
risk by 25-50%.
The risk of stroke is markedly increased.
The fact that smoking causes problems for the heart arteries
is not surprising when you consider that smoking has been
Increases bad (LDL) cholesterol
Lowers good (HDL) cholesterol
Increases insulin resistance
Cigarettes are loaded with "free radicals" which "oxidize" the
LDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL is the very worst type of
Directly accelerates the progression of the atherosclerotic
Increases the heart rate and the blood pressure
Increases fibrinogen, a protein involved in the formation of
Increases the "stickiness" of platelets, the blood elements
involved in clotting
Impairs the responsiveness of the cells lining the blood
Makes the carotid arteries thicker and other arteries stiffer.
Causes spasm of the heart arteries.
Why should you quit?
Well, obviously to avoid the problems above. But beyond
The money you'll save and use for better means (1 pack
per day approaches RM3000++ in a year)
The time and trouble you'll save going to smoking areas.
You will feel better (no smelly mouth and dirty teeth).
This may not be as dramatic as some would paint the picture, at
least over the short run, but over the long haul it is certainly
Food does smell and taste better.
Isn't it time you stop giving the cigarette manufacturer's your
Why is it so hard?
Nicotine does have a euphoric effect which makes people feel
better in the short run. As in all addictive drugs, this
effect decreases over time, and increasing doses are needed to
obtain lesser feelings of well-being.
As in all addictive drugs, there are symptoms of withdrawal
that are well known to smokers (and perhaps underestimated by
non-smokers). These symptoms are depression, insomnia,
frustration, anger, anxiety, restlessness, etc..
You'll see it even more clearly when you stop. It is a
potent addiction. It is amazing how this addiction works its way
into you, convincing you that you need another cigarette. One
of the amazing things you’ll discovered after stopping smoking,
and you did it for a long time, is that you’ll be less stressed.
The addiction spoke to you, convincing you that you need some
help dealing with a stressful situation. In fact, after quit
smoking, you didn't seem to be as many problems that required so
much thinking! (A smoker friend disclosed to me).
Few of my friends had quitted successfully and they shared
their experience with me. According to them, although it was
tough at the beginning, they eventually feel it’s worth the
‘struggle’. They have better stamina, better breathe, less
cough, good appetite and enjoy food so much! Many of them
put on weight after quitting but the most important matter is