The First Step To Stop Smoking

Cigarette smoking is always unsafe. It has been observed that those people who smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day are likely to take twice as many days off work annually than non-smokers. Forty percent of heavy smokers who are now aged 35 are likely to die before reaching their retiring age compared with only 18 percent for those who do not smoke at all. In America alone, smoking causes about 400,000 deaths annually.

Smoking poses countless dangers to a person's health, starting with the mouth and throat. The major risk of smoking is cancer. Tobacco smoke can also cause tooth decay and gum disease and can make the smoker's teeth yellow and unpleasing to the sight. As smoke passes through the esophagus, the tar that comes with it can trigger cancer. The smoke that reaches the bronchi contains hydrogen cyanide and other chemicals, which attack the bronchial lining causing inflammation thus increasing a person's susceptibility to bronchitis. The nicotine that is carried in the blood circulation causes a rise in blood pressure. Carbon monoxide results in the development of cholesterol deposits in the arterial walls that can cause stroke and heart attack. Smoking can cause ulcers in the intestines and can also cause diarrhea. Smoking can also affect the brain. Headaches are common to smokers and the lack of oxygen in the brain and narrowing of the blood vessels can lead to stroke. The most common danger we know about smoking is the adverse effect it has in the lungs. Lung cancer is 10 times more likely to develop in heavy smokers than non-smokers. Nicotine in cigarette smoke can also affect the heart. It makes the heart beat faster and work harder. Nicotine also makes the blood clot more easily, increasing a smoker's risk to heart attacks.

Even with all the imminent dangers that come with smoking, many heavy smokers still refuse to quit. Are all these health reasons not compelling enough for you to quit smoking?

In order to stop smoking you have to take the first step. Finding out why you smoke is a good first step to quitting. The following are statements based on the research conducted by the US Public Health Service. You have to give yourself a score in order to assess how intense your reasons are for smoking. Scoring would be as follows: Always true:5 points, Frequently true:4 points, Occasionally true: 3 points, Seldom true:2 points, Never true: 1 point. It is considered a high score if you get 11 or more in any category and 7 is considered low, while any score in between is average.

Stimulation: This is due to the physiological effect of nicotine. a. "Smoking keeps me going and stops me from slowing down." b. "Smoking perks me up." c. "Cigarettes give me a lift."

Handling: For some people the ritual of smoking is an important element that adds pleasure to the act of smoking. a. "Handling a cigarette is enjoyable." b. "I enjoy the lighting-up routine." c. "I like watching the smoke."

Relaxation: Smoking can provide both calming and stimulating effects. These effects are probably due to the rate and depth of inhalation although this assumption is not yet proven. a "I find smoking pleasant and relaxing." b. "Smoking is pleasurable." c. "I want a cigarette when I am most comfortable and relaxed."

Tension reduction: Most people use smoking to relieve themselves from stressful situations. a. "I smoke when I'm angry." b. "I smoke when I am uncomfortable." c. "Cigarettes take my mind off my worries."

Craving: Nicotine can be real addictive. a. "I cannot bear to be without cigarettes." b. "I am consciously aware of the times that I am not smoking." c. "I get a gnawing hunger for a cigarette when I haven't smoked for a while."

Habit: smoking is habit forming and can become an almost mechanical response. a. "I smoke cigarette automatically without being aware of it." b. "I light up when I already have cigarette going." c. "I have smoked without remembering lighting up."

If you get high scores for most categories, it means that the reasons you have for smoking are intense and complex. You may have difficulty quitting but strong motivations and the will power to stop smoking will still give you positive results. There may be times that you will fall back but always stay motivated and you will get to your goal.

By Michael Russell


You may have heard the expression, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” In the same way, you could say “Once a coffee addict, always a coffee addict.” But before I go any further in telling you my story about coffee and all the whys and hows of quitting it, you should now that now is a good time to quit drinking coffee. You've been eating mostly well, you eat your fruits and vegetables, you've been reading Frederic's newsletter - but you think, “a little cup of coffee once in a while isn't that bad.” Plus it's good for the mood. But I'm telling you right now that that cup of coffee, which I'm sure you're enjoying more often than you'd like to admit it, is preventing you from achieving the levels of health you desire. I know because I'm like you. I started drinking coffee in high school. At first, it was to get up in the morning. But one day I discovered the gustatory delights of fancy coffee shops and went deeper down into the wicked universe of coffee. Cappuccino, mocaccino, caffe latte, espresso: a dozen ways to reach heaven for a few minutes at your local cafĂ©. Of course, my vow to become a raw-foodist ended all that madness. For many years, I resisted the temptation. But you know, once a coffee addict... I admit having sinned many times. The lure of coffee sure got me more often than I'd like to admit it. Think about it: Starbucks have popped up all over the place. You can go there with your laptop, answer your e-mails and surf the web on your laptop with their free wireless Internet access, enjoy your delicious coffee and get a bit of the feel that you're really part of this world, all of that for a few dollars only.

Anti-smoking pill

Year 2006: Chantix, the latest anti-smoking tablet from Pfizer, has received a go-ahead from the US FDA. Chantix will be brand name for the anti-smoking drug, whose active incredient is called Varenicline.Chantix has been in phase-III trials till now. This is the last stage before a medicine maker can put out his ware in the market. With the FDA giving approval, Pfizer hopes to put out the no-smoking, twice-daily pill Chantix in shop shelves soon.The price of Chantix has not been revealed yet. Chantix helps prevent withdrawal symptoms and thereby reduces addiction. It also reduces the pleasure of smoking. Scientifically, Varenicline has been called a nicotine receptor partial agonist.Currently, the non-smoking alternatives are nicotine-replacement therapies, sold by prescription like in gum, patch, lozenge, nasal spray or inhaler form. Chantix will be a tablet.The approved course of treatment with Chantix is 12 weeks. In those patients who have quit smoking, it can be doubled to ensure they remain smoke-free.A study on 2000 smokers treated with Chantix showed a success ratio which is higher than another no-smoking treatment called Zyban. Pfizer also submitted the results of this study to get clearance for Chantix.

Teen Girls Using Pills, Smoking More Than Boys

Government's Findings Counter Overall Decline
By Ceci ConnollyWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, February 9, 2006; Page A03
Teenage girls, having caught up to their male counterparts in illegal drug use and alcohol consumption, now have the dubious distinction of surpassing boys in smoking and prescription drug abuse. In the past two years, in fact, more young women than men started using marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes, according to government findings being released today.
The results are doubly disturbing, researchers said, because they run counter to trends indicating an overall decline in teenage drug use and because young women appear to suffer more serious health consequences as a result.
Teenage girls, having caught up to their male counterparts in illegal drug use and alcohol consumption, now have the dubious distinction of surpassing boys in smoking and prescription drug abuse. In the past two years, in fact, more young women than men started using marijuana, alcohol and...','Ceci Connolly') ;

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"It's really sad the girls are winning," said Warren Seigel, chairman of pediatrics at Brooklyn's Coney Island Hospital. "This isn't the game they should be winning at."
Adolescent girls who smoke, drink or take drugs are at a higher risk of depression, addiction and stunted growth. And because substance abuse often goes hand in hand with risky sexual behavior, they are more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease or become pregnant, warns the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which will announce its findings in New York.
The new analysis is based on the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which interviewed members of 70,000 households. Conducted annually by the federal government since 1971, the survey is a highly regarded, detailed look at adult and teenage behaviors over three decades.
There is no single reason why girls are smoking, drinking and taking pills more than ever. Academics, therapists, teachers and teenagers themselves report that today's young women live in an increasingly stressful environment; many are worried about their appearance, eager to date older boys or recovering from physical or sexual abuse. Unlike young men, who often use illegal substances for an adrenalin rush, teenage girls use alcohol or drugs as an escape.
"Girls want to do what older guys are doing or they want to be cool," said Meghan Ward, 18, a volunteer in a Connecticut community service group called Peer Advocates. "Girls do feel a lot of stress -- everything from school, to most of us work, we have boyfriends and we want to maintain good friendships. It's hard."
The results came as something of a surprise to John Walters, director of the White House program, since illegal drug use by children ages 12 to 17 has fallen 19 percent in the past 5 years, a statistic President Bush touted in his recent State of the Union address.
"We want to make sure we continue the decline and deal effectively with the current circumstance," Walters said in an interview.
While some progress has been made, the administration statistic misses the fact that the use of alcohol and prescription drugs is rising, said Joseph A. Califano Jr., chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
"We have not done a good job of keeping alcohol and drugs out of the hands of kids," he said. In Columbia's latest survey, 42 percent of teenagers reported they would have no trouble purchasing marijuana in a day. "That's 11 million kids."
In 2002, 2003 and 2004, girls exceeded boys as first-time marijuana smokers, and they far surpass young men when it comes to prescription drug abuse, according to the government survey. In 2004, the last year for which data are available, 1.5 million girls began drinking, 730,000 started smoking cigarettes and 675,000 began smoking marijuana.


What's in a Cigarette?

Your body gets more than nicotine when you smoke.

There are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. Some of them are also in wood varnish, the insect poison DDT, arsenic, nail polish remover, and rat poison.

The ashes, tar, gases, and other poisons in cigarettes harm your body over time. They damage your heart and lungs. They also make it harder for you to taste and smell things, and fight infections.

Why Quit? (find here)

Think about why you want to quit

Decide for sure that you want to quit. Promise yourself that you'll do it. It's OK to have mixed feelings. Don't let that stop you. There will be times every day that you don't feel like quitting. You will have to stick with it anyway.

Find reasons to quit that are important to you. Think of more than just health reasons. For example, think of:

How much money you'll save by not buying cigarettes

The time you'll have for yourself instead of taking cigarette breaks, rushing out to buy a pack, or searching for a light
Not being short of breath or coughing as much
Setting a better example for your children

Write down all the reasons why you want to quit. List ways to fight the urge to smoke, too. (You will find tips for coping later in this guide.) Keep your list where you'll see it often. Good places are:

Where you keep your cigarettes
In your wallet or purse
In the kitchen
In your car
When you reach for a cigarette you'll find your list. It will remind you why you want to stop.

Reasons for Quitting

Here are some examples of reasons to quit:

I will feel healthier right away.
I will have more energy and better focus.
My senses of smell and taste will be better.
I will have whiter teeth and fresher breath.
I will cough less and breathe better.

I will be healthier the rest of my life.
I will lower my risk for cancer, heart attacks, strokes, early death, cataracts, and skin wrinkling.

I will make my partner, friends, family, kids, grandchildren, and co-workers proud of me.

I will be proud of myself.
I will feel more in control of my life.
I will be a better role model for others.

I will have more money to spend.

I won't have to worry: "When will I get to smoke next?" or "What do I do when I'm in a smoke-free place?"

Why is Quitting So Hard?

Many ex-smokers say quitting was the hardest thing they ever did. Do you feel hooked? You're probably addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is in all tobacco products. It makes you feel calm and satisfied. At the same time, you feel more alert and focused. The more you smoke, the more nicotine you need to feel good. Soon, you don't feel "normal" without nicotine. It takes time to break free from nicotine addiction. It may take more than one try to quit for good. So don't give up too soon. You will feel good again.

Quitting is also hard because smoking is a big part of your life. You enjoy holding cigarettes and puffing on them. You may smoke when you are stressed, bored, or angry. After months and years of lighting up, smoking becomes part of your daily routine. You may light up without even thinking about it.

Smoking goes with other things, too. You may light up when you feel a certain way or do certain things. For example:

Drinking coffee, wine, or beer
Talking on the phone
Being with other smokers
You may even feel uncomfortable not smoking at times or in places where you usually have a cigarette. These times and places are called "triggers." That's because they trigger, or turn on, cigarette cravings. Breaking these habits is the hardest part of quitting for some smokers.

Quitting isn't easy. Just reading this guide won't do it. It may take several tries. But you learn something each time you try. It takes will power and strength to beat your addiction to nicotine. Remember that millions of people have quit smoking for good. You can be one of them!