Smoking and Quitting Smoking (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Smoking and quitting smoking facts
- What problems are caused by smoking?
- What is addictive disease and why is smoking considered addictive?
- What are the signs of cigarette addiction?
- Why should someone quit smoking?
- What are the steps in quitting?
- Getting ready to quit smoking
- On the day you quit smoking
- Staying quit
- What methods can help a person quit smoking?
- Behavioral modification and self-help literature to quit smoking
- Nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking
- What prescription products are available for smoking cessation?
- How are nicotine-containing products used safely?
- What is in the future for smoking?
- Smoking FAQs
- Find a local Internist in your town
What is addictive disease and why is smoking considered an addictive disease?
The term addictive disease or addiction describes a persistent habit that is harmful to the person. Thus, addiction is a chronic (long duration) disease with reliance on the substance causing the addiction. The addictive substance also causes the accompanying deterioration of a person's physical and psychological health.
Psychologically, an individual's behavior pattern establishes how the addictive substance is used. One type of behavior is compulsive behavior, which is an overwhelming and irresistible interest in use of the substance. For example, the compulsive addict makes sure that the substance is always available. Another type of behavior is habitual behavior, which is using the substance regularly or occasionally for the desirable effects. Physically, continuous use of the substance leads to dependence on the drug by the body. This dependence means that when the drug is discontinued, symptoms of withdrawal or distress occur.
Nicotine is the component of cigarettes that addicts. Almost immediately upon inhalation, the body responds to the nicotine. An individual feels relaxed, calmer, and happier than before the inhalation. These pleasant feelings reflect the physical side of addiction; but then, not smoking cigarettes causes a craving for more cigarettes, irritability, impatience, anxiety, and other unpleasant symptoms. Indeed, these symptoms are the symptoms of withdrawal from cigarettes. Moreover, with time, more and more nicotine is desired to produce the favorable effects and to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal.
What are the signs of cigarette addiction?
The signs of addiction to cigarettes include:
- smoking more than seven cigarettes per day;
- inhaling deeply and frequently;
- smoking cigarettes containing nicotine levels more than 0.9mg;
- smoking within 30 minutes of awakening in the morning;
- finding it difficult to eliminate the first cigarette in the morning;
- smoking frequently during the morning;
- finding it difficult to avoid smoking in smoking-restricted areas; and
- needing to smoke even if sick and in bed.
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