WHY IT'S BEEN SO F#*&ING HARD TO STOP...
We know it's not good for us - so why do we do it?
Nicotine, along with caffeine and alcohol, is one of the three most widely used legal drugs. According to the US surgeon-general, “Smoking will continue as the leading cause of preventable, premature mortality for many years to come.”
Approximately 1 billion people around the world smoke.
An estimated 22.5% of adults in the world
(1 billion people) smoke tobacco products (32.0% of men and 7.0% of women ).
It’s estimated that 6% of deaths in females and 11% of deaths in males each year are caused by tobacco use.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 5 million people a year die prematurely as a result of smoking. And if it keeps going the way it is, smoking will kill up to a billion people worldwide this century as stated by John Seffrin, chief executive of the American Cancer Society.
5 million people a year... That’s around 14,000 people a day, dying from smoking- related diseases.
Smoking kills more than 50% of all smokers, mainly from cancer, and even though it’s the single largest avoidable risk of premature death, there are approximately 30 million new smokers a year, as estimated by scientists.
The average smoker lives ten years less than a non-smoker and is much more likely to contract many different, horrible diseases.
So why, when we know that cigarettes are poisonous and that they make us much more likely to die of a horrible disease do we continue to smoke? Blame it on the nicotine. The main stimulant in cigarettes, nicotine, has a substantial effect even in tiny doses.
Can you remember your first cigarette? It probably tasted awful, burned your throat and lungs (if you inhaled), and made you feel dizzy and nauseous. Those are some of its toxic effects in action. A few more puffs, and for most people, the body no longer rebels. In fact, you rather like it. In short, you’re hooked.
Nicotine's mood-altering effects are somewhat unique, as it is both a stimulant and a relaxant. It causes a release of glucose (sugar) from the liver, and adrenaline, making you feel more alert and calm at the same time. When you tried quitting smoking before, did you feel anxious, achy, tired, irritable and hungrier than usual?
Did you crave sweets more than normal, feel slightly dizzy, foggy-headed or even slightly confused? If you did, you were likely experiencing low blood sugar symptoms. That’s because every cigarette you smoke triggers a small blood sugar release.
When you quit smoking, your blood sugar can become lower than before since you are no longer having that blood sugar boost from smoking.
When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine passes from the lungs to the brain within seven seconds and immediately triggers the release of a heady chemical cocktail such as acetylcholine, adrenalin, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin.
The release of these hormones and neurotransmitters is what is mostly responsible for nicotine's psychoactive effects.
Nicotine appears to enhance alertness, concentration, and memory, as well as reducing anxiety and pain at the same time. It’s no surprise so many people are hooked on smoking.
However, don’t be fooled by the payoffs that nicotine can give. It is more deadly than arsenic and strychnine. The lethal dosage of nicotine for a 150 pound or 68 kg adult is 60 mg.
The lethal dosage for strychnine is 75 mg and the lethal dosage for arsenic is 200mg. In other words, nicotine is one and one-quarter times as toxic as strychnine and more than three times as toxic as arsenic.
Something doesn't feel right about having to consume a poisonous substance to get through your day, and for you to be able to cope. You've probably also found that the original kick you got from smoking isn't nearly as good as it used to be.
You may have noticed that cigarettes don't actually make you feel good at all. You just don’t feel as bad as you feel when you were craving one.
That craving for cigarettes is partly due to your subconscious believing you need nicotine. When it’s in your system all the time, your body starts to think that it needs to be there for your survival - just like air, food, and water.
The pull of nicotine comes from the fact that it brings relief. Unfortunately, this relief is only temporary. You might also have found that your relationship with smoking actually causes you problems or gets in the way of your ability to function in the world in one way or another.
Not many smokers realize that a lot of the stress relieved by a cigarette is caused by smoking the one before.
The stress on your body, brought on by being poisoned by the thousands of toxic chemicals, triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are our natural pain relieving chemical. Endorphins are more potent than morphine or heroin!
To guarantee it has a “painkilling” supply for the next assault (or cigarette), the body stockpiles endorphins and waits for the next cigarette to release them.
When the expected chemical trigger from smoking doesn’t arrive, the smoker experiences increasing stress from low blood sugar and low endorphins and craves the endorphin and sugar hit they now associate with smoking another cigarette.
The cycle works something like this: experience stress, smoke a cigarette, trigger an endorphin and blood sugar release, feel a temporary relaxation, deplete endorphin supply and blood sugar, experience increased stress. And round and round we go...